Today in Celtics history: the Anderson/Baker trade

Today, July 22nd is the fifteenth anniversary of the trade which brought Vin Baker to the Boston Celtics.

The deal, regarded by many as among the Celtics' worst, sent Kenny Anderson, Joseph Forte and Vitaly Potapenko to the Seattle Supersonics, who sent back Baker with Shammond Williams. While none of the players sent out were especially great later - Forte was out of the league after the following season, Anderson's best years were behind him, and Potapenko as well - the latter two had several seasons of good basketball left in the tank.

The players who came to Boston, however, were both gone in less than two seasons - Baker released after his alcoholism became an insurmountable obstacle to his playing career and fitness, playing just 89 games with the Celts, and Williams being flipped with cash and a second-round pick to the Denver Nuggets for Mark Blount and Mark Bryant. Taken in a vacuum, it's easy to see why the trade was so distasteful, but Baker and Williams provided similar production to what they sent out, and trading Williams netted Blount, who more than made up for the loss of Baker with six seasons in Boston, averaging similar numbers.

So, while Baker's demise is certainly sad, and emotional ties to Vitaly and Kenny were certainly stomped on, the Celtics probably came out on top when taking the long view - just don't tell Chris Wallace, as public outrage towards the deal was one of the factors leading to his ouster, replaced by a one Daniel Ainge.

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