Today in Celtics history: Williams, Cheaney, Blue, Johnson, Leede & Pritchard born

Today, July 17th is the birthday of many former Boston Celtics, so we'll be brief, covering each in order of birth.

Ed Leede - The former Celtic wing was born in 1927, and is still with us at age 90. An alum of Dartmouth, Leede played for Boston in the 1949-50 and 1950-51 seasons, averaging nearly eight points, two assists and two boards with the Celtics.

Kevin Pritchard - Born on this day in 1949, the ex-Boston point guard is perhaps best known to Celtics fans as the one of the architects of the trade that did not send Paul George to the Celtics, but to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was once a Celtic, though, as a player years before he was an executive for the Indiana Pacers. That era, which began when the Celts signed him as a free agent just before the start of the 1991-92 season, was unremarkable - Pritchard logged just 11 games with the team before being waived in January 1992, averaging 4.2 points and 2.7 assists over 12.4 minutes per game. Pretty solid production, really, so if Kevin had a bone to pick over being waived by Boston, at least he has a leg to stand on.

Calbert Cheaney - Cheaney, a small forward born in 1971, missed Pritchard by nearly a decade, playing with Boston in the 1999-2000 season. The Indiana-produced wing had an underwhelming stint in Boston, averaging four points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game after signing with the team as a free agent, and was traded with Robert Pack to the Denver Nuggets for Chris Herren and Bryant Stith in October, 2000.

Eric Williams - Another wing, Williams was a New England product, through and through. Drafted by the Cs out of Providence with the 14th overall pick of the 1995 NBA Draft, he played his first two seasons in Boston before being traded to the Denver Nuggets for a pair of second-round picks eventually used to select Chris Klack and Earl Watson (the pick was traded to the Seattle Supersonics, who took Watson), only to tear his ACL. The Nuggets traded him back to Boston along with Danny FortsonEric Washington and a first-round draft pick that would be used to take Kedrick Brown in 2001 in exchange for Ron Mercer, Ronald "Popeye" Jones, and Dwayne Schintzius. 

Williams was notably worse in his second stint in Boston after the ACL tear, dropping from his best season with the team in 1996-97, when he logged 15 points and 4.6 boards per game, dropping to 6.4 points and three rebounds per game in his fifth season with the team. He would rebound slightly in the next two seasons, reaching 11.6 points and 4.6 boards per game in his seventh season in Boston, only to be traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers with Tony Battie and Kedrick Brown for Ricky Davis, Chris Mihm, Michael Stewart and a 2005 second-round pick used to select Ryan Gomes.

Chris Johnson - The Dayton product, another wing born today in 1990, went undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft and spent time in the NBA D-League, with a short stint with the Memphis Grizzlies before playing his way into a pair of ten-day contracts and an eventual multi-year deal with the Celts in the winter of 2014. He was waived at the end of September of that year, however, averaging 6.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in the 40 games he played with the club.

Vander Blue - The youngest of today's birthdays (born in 1992), Blue - you guessed it, a wing - also fought his way onto the Celts after going undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft and spending time overseas and in the NBA D League. He signed a ten-day contract with the club in January 2014, and appeared in just three games for the team, averaging 1.7 points and a board per game in that stretch. He was, however, a teammate of Johnson's, if only for a week and change.

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