The deal that will send Jeff Green to the Memphis Grizzlies was finalized yesterday, according to Adrian Wojnarowksi of Yahoo! Sports.
The trade will send the Grizzlies’ Tayshaun Prince, New Orleans’ Austin Rivers and a future Memphis first-round pick to the Celtics, league sources tell Wojnarowski. Memphis will send forward Quincy Pondexter and a 2015 second-round pick to the Pelicans and the Pelicans will move guard Russ Smith to the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies held Prince and Pondexter out of Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.
So at this point it’s pretty evident what Trader Danny is doing. He has resorted to grabbing an abundance of draft picks and other “assets” in hopes that some of them will turn out to be quality NBA players and some of them can be traded for established veterans. Ainge is currently receiving a healthy dose of both praise and criticism for this strategy. On the bright side, the Celtics have 13 first round picks and 14 second round picks in the next 4 drafts, far more than any other team. Unfortunately, many of those picks are protected, meaning the Celtics cannot use them if they fit a certain criteria. On top of that, many of the first round picks are late first round picks, which can obviously be hit or miss. For example, the Celtics drafted Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo with the 21st and 22nd picks of the 2012 draft. One of them was a steal and one was the definition of a bust. As far as the 14 second round picks, those are basically useless. You’re lucky if a second round pick ends up as a decent role player let alone a star. When asked about his method of rebuilding, Ainge said the following:
“I think you have to build through the draft, but like last time we built through the draft and we developed players and we were able to trade to get some veteran guys in that were ready to win that were more compatible with Paul (Pierce) at the time, but we did it through the draft. That’s how I look at it and right now we’ll do the same thing; we’ll draft players, we’ll develop players and we’ll look for opportunities to take steps forward.”
While Danny is correct in that the Celtics’ best bet at this point is to build through the draft, stockpiling late first round and second round picks will not get you much in this league. I understand that the Big 3 was assembled in 2007 by trading assets, but in this day and age, franchise players are extremely hard to come by and I can’t imagine any team giving one up for a bunch of protected and late round picks.
Only time will tell if all of these moves pay off in the long run, but a part of me agrees with this guy: