The Celtics made a few trades during last season, but two of them in particular have already paid off for them, and will continue to do so in he future. Danny Ainge traded away the only "star" involved in any of the transactions in Rajon Rondo, and as more time passes, the better and better it looks.
In the Dallas trade, the Celtics gave up Rondo and Dwight Powell. We all know what a nightmare Rondo's Dallas season was, and he has already moved on to Sacremento. Powell had a very James Young first year in the league, bouncing between Dallas and Boston's D-league affiliates over a dozen times. He played sparingly for Dallas, but dominated in the D-league. At 24 years old and 6'11", he has the potential to be the ONLY thing Boston gave up in this lopsided transaction. If Powell doesn't pan out, then the Celtics gave up absolutely nothing.
So in exchange for a 6'11" long shot and possibly the worst rent-a-player of all time, Ainge secured Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson, the Mavericks 2015 first rounder, and a future second rounder. Wright was flipped to Phoenix for a Minnesota future first rounder in 2015 or 2016 (top 12 protected, and will turn into 2 second rounders if Minnesota doesn't give it up by 2016), and Jameer Nelson was traded to Denver (for a promptly bought out Nate Robinson) in fear of him exercising his $2.9 million player option for this year, and sacrificing some of Ainge's cap flexibility.
The other trade that will continue to pay dividends for the Celtics was sending Tayshaun Prince to Detroit for Jonas Jerebko and Gigi Datome. Prince wanted a buyout anyway, and certainly wasn't in the Celtics plans, and they turned that into Jerebko and Datome. While Gigi is gone now, he was entertaining at least in his brief time in Boston, and Jerebko seemed to find a nice niche as a stretch four who was finally getting some playing time.
In summation, a half season of Rondo, Dwight Powell, and Tayshaun Prince were turned into Jae Crowder, the Mavericks 2015 first rounder, a Maverick future second rounder, a Minnesota first rounder (or 2 second rounders), Jonas Jerebko, and briefly Gigi Datome.
Crowder and Jerebko have since signed longer deals with the Celtics, something Dallas couldn't, and certainly didn't want, to do with Rondo. We all know how important Crowder was to the team last year, and he hopefully has a long and useful future with Boston. While Jerebko's role will not be quite as significant, he is a stretch four who can shoot and extend the defense, and could certainly be a rotation guy on a really good team you would be happy to have coming off the bench.
Neither of those two players would have been likely to sign with Boston as free agents, and that makes the trades Danny pulled off last season even more important. He identified players he thought would do well here, they both seem to be Brad Stevens style players, and they both had a good enough experience that they re-signed. Ainge possibly even leveraged the uncertainty of re-signing Crowder into getting additional picks from Dallas (along with convincing them Rondo was still in his prime), and then re-signed him anyway. If you don't believe we made out like bandits, ask Mark Cuban. Though he probably won't be taking any 617 calls anytime soon.
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
Follow Chris on Twitter @Thomp_26 Chris Thompson 9/01/2015 08:20:00 AM Tweet Edit