No Boston Celtics fan was elated to see Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett venture to Brooklyn last summer, but it has portrayed the reward that’s packed within a prime time trade. As we learned Wednesday, with the three-way deal that helped Boston acquire Tyler Zeller, Marcus Thorton, and a future first round pick, it is a gift that simply keeps on giving.
Looking back at what the C’s received in return for arguably their two most respected players, it isn’t odd to tip your hat at Pierce and KG with a simple “thank you”. During the summer of 2013 Beantown acquired Kris Humphries (reportedly not in Boston’s future plans), MarShon Brooks (already traded), Gerald Wallace (and his fat load of a contract), Kris Joseph (remember me?), and Keith Bogans (where in the heck did you go?) in return for the powerful duo. Gold was obviously not struck within the players, but rather the draft picks Danny Ainge and the Celtics collected. Three total first-round draft picks (2014, 2016, 2018), also including the given right to swap first-rounders with the Nets in 2017.
Pretty solid; right Celtics fanatics?
If you haven’t noticed yet, there is a plan hidden behind an element of the controversial trade (or so I think, but am I Danny?). This trade, to put it simply, was meant for the picks and not the players. Clearly, when seeing the second best name in return for two future hall-of-famers as Kris Humphries, it’s a given. What is the plan? The blueprint to a successful future for one of the most successful franchises in sports history? Stockpiling these draft picks, and then utilizing them for game-changing talent down the road. This cash in, this swapping of draft picks for an impactful player today, has obviously not occurred yet.
There’s just one huge part of the deal that went unnoticed by most: Boston also received a $10.3 million trade exception.
A trade exception is unknown to most, including myself. I had to dig out a lot of articles and definition alike before firmly understanding what it was. I stumbled across an article from csnne.com, finding that a trade exception is “given out when one team (over the salary cap) moves more salary than it gets in return”. The C’s exception, of $10.3 million, had to be used within one year or else it would have expired. Luckily, Ainge found a solid deal before the July 12th deadline commenced to put it in use.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, who needed to clear enough space to offer LeBron James a max deal, primarily factors into Beantown’s decision to exercise the quickly expiring $10.3 million, having just two days remaining to do so.
Examining the three-way deal:
Cavaliers Get: Protected future second-round pick.
Cavaliers Trade Away: Tyler Zeller, Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev.
Nets Get: Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev.
Nets Trade Away: Marcus Thornton.
Celtics Get: Tyler Zeller, Marcus Thornton.
Celtics Trade Away: Protected future second-round pick.
The C’s, already rich with future picks, managed to score yet another draft pick technically from the Pierce and Garnett trade. Receiving a 2016 top-10 protected first-round pick from Cleveland, one could truthfully say Boston got four first-round selections as a result of the franchise-shifting exchange. Acquiring Tyler Zeller, a very youthful 7-footer, includes having him locked in his rookie deal for an additional two seasons. Marcus Thorton, who has averaged 13.4 points a game over five seasons in the Association, should add a solid scoring outlet to a team that is in need of an attacker.
Shout out to Danny boy for making capitalizing on a very smart deal, and to Pierce and KG for allowing yet another first round pick/developing young players to be stockpiled for a big-time talent. All that is left? Find a rim protector. #WeWantLove
Daniel Carney is the creator and lead writer for Beantownbasketball.com. He formerly covered the Charlotte Bobcats for rantsports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_jcarney, subscribe to him on YouTube where he talks sports, and add him on Google+/LinkedIn.