Breaking down an insane week of trades and moves by the Celtics, and a look at the rebuild thus far

A lot can change in a week, especially if you're Danny Ainge and the Celtics.

In the last seven days the Cs have made four trades, diving further into the total rebuild that began with the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade, and went into overdrive when Rajon Rondo was traded last month.

The Celtics are making moves at such a fast rate that Basketball Insiders, which is easily the best, and quickest salary and roster blog, has yet to update their last few.

But what has been the real impact of these moves? What was lost? What was gained? Well let's break them down, first one-by-one, and then as a whole.

Move #1: Brandan Wright to the Suns for the Timberwolves 2015 1st round pick (protected 1-12 in 2015 and 2016, then becomes 2016 and 2017 second round picks), and a $5 million trade exception.

Quick-and-dirty recap: Tiny bit confused about why the Celtics didn't let Wright play 20-25 minutes-per-game, let him continue (or exceed) the production he had with Dallas in more playing time, and then deal him before the deadline. The return was ok, but probably has a 90% chance of being two second round picks, and only a 10% chance of being a 2016 1st rounder if Minnesota has an unexpectedly good 2015-16 season. Players who can defend the rim like Wright are always in demand (hello Timofey), and the Celtics still had six weeks to shop Wright. Two second rounders and a $5 million exception was a solid return, but I think they may have been able to do better.

Move #2: Jeff Green to the Grizzlies in a three-team deal that netted the Celtics Tayshaun Prince, Austin Rivers, and a future first round pick from Memphis (pick will not be moved until two years after Memphis pays a first rounder to Denver. Likely will be a 2019 first rounder).

Quick-and-dirty recap: Hard not to really like this one. The Celtics get a future first (albeit in four years) plus Rivers, who turned into a few smaller assets (more on this later), for a guy who had no future in Boston. Green is a lock to opt out of his $9 million option for 2015-16 and hit the market as an unrestricted free agent this summer. Green will be 29-years-old, and will likely cash in with a very similar contract to the one he got back in 2012 -- 4 years, and between $8-10 million per season -- making him a very expensive (and average) option at small forward for a rebuilding Celtics team. So instead of losing him for nothing, the Celtics added another first rounder to the pile, and also freed up 33 minutes-per-game for their younger players with Green off the team.

Move #3: Jameer Nelson to the Nuggets for Nate Robinson and a $625,000 trade exception.

Quick-and-dirty recap: It's a minor deal, but what's not to like? Nelson had a $2.8 million player option for 2015-16 that he very well may have picked up, and now the Celtics don't have to worry about that. The exception is small enough where it likely won't matter, but that's fine. The Cs then waived Robinson, which was disappointing for nostalgic Celtics fans, but makes all the sense in the world considering Nate is now a 30-year-old coming off of ACL surgery who's having his worst season ever.

Move #4: Austin Rivers to the Clippers in a three-team trade that netted the Celtics Shavlik Randolph, Chris Douglas-Roberts, a 2017 Clippers second round pick, and a $2.4 million trade exception.

Quick-and-dirty recap: Austin Rivers is so, so bad. He may be the worst guard in the league, inept on defense, and completely incompetent on offense as well. The Celtics (and Suns) took advantage of Doc the GM foolishly seeing something in his son that no one else sees, and grabbed a few smallish assets in the process. The Cs waived CDR, but appear to be keeping Randolph, a solid energy guy who will grab some boards for them (hey, the team does still need to field an active roster after-all), and grabbed a second rounder (giving them 11 over the next four drafts), and another trade exception that could be used at any time in the next year.

If we stretch back a little further, we can include the Rondo deal in an attempt to break down the Celtics five recent trades. If we do that, it looks like this:

Celtics traded: Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green

Celtics received: Jae Crowder, Tayshaun Prince (who will likely be traded or bought out soon), Shavlik Randolph, 2015 Timberwolves 1st round pick (protected 1-12 in 2015 and 2016, then becomes 2016 and 2017 second round picks), 2015 Mavericks 1st round pick (protected 1-3 and 15-30 in 2015, top-seven protected in 2016), future Memphis 1st round pick (pick will not be moved until two years after Memphis pays a first rounder to Denver. Likely will be a 2019 first rounder), 2016 Mavericks second round pick, 2017 Clippers second round pick, $12.9 million trade exception (Rondo deal), $5 million exception (Wright), $2.4 million exception (Rivers), and a $625,000 exception (Nelson).

Using some reasoning, it's fair to call that Timberwolves pick two seconds, meaning Rondo and Green netted the Celtics two firsts, four seconds, $21 million in trade exceptions, and one 24-year-old rotation guy in Crowder. The deals also lowered the Celtics salary cap number for 2015-16 to $33.5 million, leaving them about $33 million below the projected cap.

This is not a sexy haul because it did not land the Celtics any lottery picks (most likely), nor did it land them any top-end NBA talent. But there is a ton of value there. Draft picks are always valuable, and the Celtics added six to their haul, giving them an unheard of NINE firsts and ELEVEN seconds between now and 2018. While people are quick to announce late firsts or early seconds as not valuable because "YOU CAN'T GET A FRANCHISE GUY THERE!!!" -- you need to chill. First off, you can get a franchise guy there. Rondo was picked late in the first, Tony Parker was too, and Manu Ginobili, Chandler Parsons and Gilbert Arenas were second rounders. And these are just the guys I thought of in the first 15 seconds, there are more. Of course, your odds are lower than they are in the lottery, but the odds are not 0%. And what Ainge has done is he's given the Celtics a bunch of swings at the piƱata of NBA talent. No, (SPOILER ALERT) they will not hit on all 20 picks, nor will they likely keep all 20 picks, but if they do trade them, they will get something of value in return. One thing I'd love to see the Celtics do with their stash of second rounders is start developing players in Europe. For some reason, this has never been the Cs calling card, which has always perplexed me. There are a half dozen talented Euros every single draft, and the Celtics never seem to take a chance. So hopefully with the (current projections) 33rd, 36th and 51st picks in the draft this year, the Celts take their chance at grabbing the next Manu, Asik, or Mirotic.

And then there's the trade exceptions, which again, they are highly unlikely to use all of. But I will virtually guarantee they use a few of them, and pick up even more assets in the process. Whether that be a player that another team wants to deal and can be fit into the exception salary-wise, or another situation like the deal that brought Tyler Zeller and a first rounder to Boston because the Celtics could fit Marcus Thornton into their Pierce trade exception. The Cs can now have their feelers in on virtually every trade in the league, hoping to be the third-team that can benefit from a deal with their flexibility.

I understand some level of frustration with the rebuild, as the Celtics do not yet have a single player who we know will be a top-three guy on a really good team. We have some we hope will be (Smart, Young, Sullinger), but no one we can 100% look at and say "he's a definite keeper". That's a rough place to be. But getting those guys is hard, and so far Ainge has had only one draft to work with in the rebuild, and he got two guys who most Celtics fans love in Smart and Young. This summer he gets another chance with a top-ten (and who knows, maybe top-three) pick, another pick in the low 20s (the Clippers) plus three second rounders and oodles of cap space. We all hoped for a quick rebuild, but that was always a low probability result. And in some ways Ainge was forced to wait to completely hit the reset button, as Rondo was injured when the rebuild began, and Green's value was a lot lower with multiple years left on his deal and a few disappointing seasons under his belt.

This is not to say the Celtics are a lock to be a fun, young, contending team in three years, as Ainge still needs to complete the hardest part of the rebuild: locating and securing elite talent. That is a daunting task, but one he has made far more realistic with all of the assets he has procured.

One thing I am certainly excited about is that the Celtics finally have a clear path. For the last 18 months the Celtics ship was rocking about in the choppy waters of an NBA rebuild, waiting and waiting to pick a direction until they knew for sure which way to go. Now we are moving full speed ahead into a total rebuild, with some pieces in house, and a bunch of chances to acquire more. It's going to take awhile even if things go right, and could end up with the ship at the bottom of the ocean. But to this point, Ainge has done a fantastic job setting up the Celtics. Now it's time for him to move into the next stage of the rebuild, and re-stock the roster with elite talent. His job, and the future of the Celtics, depends on it.

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