Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge continues to live up to his nickname, “Trader Danny.”
The Celtics shipped forward/center Brandan Wright to the Phoenix Suns on Friday evening for a conditional first-round pick. The selection initially came from the Minnesota Timberwolves so the choice is lottery-protected in 2015 and 2016. If the Celtics don’t receiver the pick, then the Celtics will second rounders in 2016 and 2017. Also, the Celtics picked up a $5 million trade exception. Since the Suns are already under the salary cap, they were able to trade for Wright without having to send any players in return.
In another potential deal, the Celtics have agreed in principle to send forward Jeff Green to the Memphis Grizzlies. This could turn into a three-team trade along with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Celtics will acquire Tayshaun Prince, John Salmons, and a first-round selection. Prince, a 13-year forward, has a $7.7 million expiring salary. Green has a $9.2 million player option for next season, but the Celtics were in danger of losing Green through restricted free agency in the summer so they wanted to obtain assets for their leading scorer. If the Celtics cannot move Green via a three team trade, the Celtics and Grizzlies will consummate the deal by themselves with Prince and a first-round picking coming to Boston.
Green was averaging 17.6 points per game this season in 33.1 minutes per game. The knock on Green was his inconsistency and his lack of taking over games. Like former Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, Green showed his capability such as his 43-point outburst against LeBron James and the Miami Heat on March 18, 2013 when the Heat could not prevent Green from going to his right on dribble penetration to the basket. There have been too many times where Green has disappeared in his three-plus seasons with the Celtics.
Green’s disappearing act has shown in the past month when the Celtics traded Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks. In 10 games since the Rondo trade, Green has averaged just 12.7 points per game.
These moves free up space for the Celtics to play rookie James Young along with other youngsters such as Marcus Smart, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and Avery Bradley.
The Celtics could have 11 first round picks in the next four years. While the Celtics are struggling right now, they are in the process of building a perennial contender.