Feeding the Addiction: Ainge Adds More Assets

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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BOSTON – Addictions are difficult to break. Sometimes, that’s not always a bad thing.

Danny Ainge, who is steering the Boston Celtics’ rebuilding effort, is currently addicted to stockpiling assets. He’s been feeding that addiction for more than 18 months now, and he did so again Monday morning.

Ainge and the Celtics on Monday completed their second trade in four days by agreeing to send forward Jeff Green to the Memphis Grizzlies. As part of the three-team trade with the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Boston acquires a future first-round pick from Memphis as well as forward Tayshaun Prince and guard Austin Rivers.

Monday’s deal marks the third in the last three weeks that has added to Boston’s stockpile of draft assets.

First, they agreed to part ways with Rajon Rondo in order to add a future first-round pick, a future second-round pick and three veteran players from the Dallas Mavericks. On Friday, Ainge traded one of those veterans, Brandan Wright, to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for another conditional first-round pick. Now the C’s have added another first-rounder to their arsenal, as well as a 22-year old former lottery pick in Rivers, by parting ways with Green.

The amount of assets Boston now possesses is astonishing. The C’s currently possess the rights to as many as 12 first-round picks in the next four drafts, including up to eight in the next two drafts. The final number of first-rounders that Boston will own is dependent upon conditions that are attached to many of the picks. Those conditions will also affect the number of second-round picks the Celtics will own over the next few drafts, but suffice to say, they own a lot of them.

In addition to all of those future assets, the Celtics also possess a handful of youngsters who were first-round picks in their own right. The acquisition of Rivers leaves the Celtics with seven former first-round picks who are younger than 25 years old.

To Boston’s credit, it has done a fantastic job of developing those youngsters after acquiring them. As of Monday morning, James Young, Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk have all accumulated player efficiency ratings of at least 16.4 this season. Such is an indication that each player can be a legitimate contributor to a contending team. And that list doesn’t even include Marcus Smart, who has already showcased game-changing abilities during his rookie season, or Avery Bradley, who has already started for a team that went to the Conference Finals.

Add all of these picks and players together and you have a recipe for future success in Boston. The Celtics have a boatload of young talent and hoards of salary cap space and draft picks over the next two seasons. They are set up better than any organization in the league to acquire star players – and to surround those players with quality youth – over the next two seasons.

This is all as a result of Ainge’s continued asset addiction. It all started when he made the shrewd move of sending Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets in July of 2013, and it continued today with his decision to send Green to the Grizzlies.

The Celtics are now stacked with assets – to an unprecedented level – and they’re ready to strike at a moment’s notice.