Many fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers perked up when they reached an agreement to move point guard Jarett Jack to the Brooklyn Nets today. Although nothing will be final until tomorrow, this move is in an effort to open up more cap space for LeBron James. That will get all the attention, but the Boston Celtics were the real winners.
The Celtics took on the salaries of Marcus Thorton and Tyler Zeller. With the $10 million trade exception they had, the trade will cost them nothing more than a protected second-round pick.
If that wasn’t enough, the Celtics also landed another future first-round pick from Cleveland which is protected from being in the top 10. That now gives Boston eight first-round picks in the next four drafts. It’s unlikely that the Celtics will use all of those which means they have plenty of options.
Firstly, I wouldn’t back off the Kevin Love trade. This is still an option and there is no real rush for the Minnesota Timberwolves to do it. They need to be picky and make sure they get the deal they want. They can wait until the trade deadline before feeling any pressure. The plethora of first-round draft picks and young talent Boston possesses could be enough to land Love at that point.
Secondly, Danny Ainge addressed some immediate needs. Thorton has averaged 13.4 points for his career. He can come off the bench and provide an offensive boost. Zeller is a seven-footer who can protect the rim and be an effective role player. The Celtics will likely be pushing the ball with their young legs and Zeller can run the floor extremely well.
The most important part of this trade, and the Celtics’ short-term future, is that they can bring in big-time players in the 2015 Free Agency. With a very young and inexpensive core, they will have plenty of space to re-sign Rajon Rondo and another star. If they choose to move away from Rondo or trade him before then, it could allow for them to bring in two high-profile free agents next summer.
Boston has positioned themselves nicely. This latest move shouldn’t be a surprise because they have been executing their rebuild to perfection. This team will be back competing for NBA titles very soon.