Danny Ainge is so good that the NBA could change rules

Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge is so good at his job that the league could wind up changing the rules.

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the league has been having discussions on possible rule changes after watching the fall out from the blockbuster deal that the Celtics and Brooklyn Nets stuck back in the summer of 2013 when Boston shipped franchise cornerstones Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce off to the Nets for a compete haul of bad contracts and future lottery picks.

The 2017 pick swap is where the league in considering making a few changes. Teams currently not allowed to trade consecutive first round picks, so the pick swap was a planned way to get Boston an extra first round pick in this deal without having to stretch it all the way out until 2020. Theoretically, it also benefits the Nets in where they get a lower first round pick back instead of straight up losing four picks.

It seems like pick swaps would still be allowed in trades, but you won’t be able to have them in any deals until all hard picks that are owed have been exchanged. This means that the Celtics would not have been allowed to put the pick swap in 2017 and would have had to push it back to 2019 or beyond. Brooklyn realistically could have been a more competitive team by then – using the first overall pick from this past draft to help them build – and it wouldn’t have done as much damage.

Because these reports are opening up this can of worms, now seems like a good time to look back at how the trade did wind up turning out for each team.

BOSTON gets:
Keith Bogans
MarShon Brooks
Kris Humphries
Kris Joseph
Gerald Wallace
BKN 2014 1st (James Young)
BKN 2016 1st (Jaylen Brown)
2017 Pick Swap (Markelle Fultz)
BKN 2018 1st

Kevin Garnett
Paul Pierce
Jason Terry
D.J. White
2017 Pick Swap (Kyle Kuzma)
BOS 2017 2nd (Aleksander Vezenkov)

Since start of 2013-14 season
Boston Brooklyn
Record 166-162 (.506) 123-205 (.375)
Playoff Berths 3 2
Playoff Record 11-17 (.393) 7-11 (.389)
Series Record 2-3 1-2

This trade really comes down to Garnett and Pierce vs. whoever Boston winds up getting with draft picks because none of the players coming back from the Nets factored in too much with the Celtics long term plans.

Bogans, Brooks and Joseph only played in a combined 16 games with the team after the trade went down. Joseph was waived right away, Brooks was flipped along with Jordan Crawford for the second round pick that became Jordan Mickey while Bogans was traded for Dwight Powell and the second round pick that eventually became Abdel Nader. So the Celtics really got nothing out of that whole bunch, unless Nader shatters all expectations and contributes to the team at some point.

Humphries put together a very respectable season in Boston – averaging 8.4 PPG and 6.0 RPG all while averaging under 20 minutes – but the team went just 25-57 that season and left in free agency. Wallace was also in the rotation that first season before taking a smaller role in year two. He was then traded to the Golden State Warriors for David Lee. This actually should have worked out in the Celtics favor but Lee bombed after getting an opening night starting nod, completely vanishing from the rotation and eventually getting waived after Boston couldn’t find a trade partner at the deadline.

Nobody really expected any of the physical players – all of whom were tossed into this trade for cap reasons – to contribute that much anyway, so it’s not that big a deal. You just would have hoped that Ainge could have found a way to work some of his magic and turn one of them into some real value, but that just wasn’t the case.

It’s at the pick swap where this trade really does start to get ugly for Brooklyn.

If it was Garnett, Pierce and Terry for James Young, Jaylen Brown and the 2018 first round pick it wouldn’t look as bad. The Nets still would have been giving up three unprotected first round pick to build a one year championship window for themselves, but Young has already been let go by the Celtics and Ainge would only have one more crack to wind up with an impact player.

But Brown does seem to have a bright NBA future ahead of him and the Celtics were able to turn the pick swap into Jayson Tatum plus another future lottery pick by trading it to the Philadelphia 76ers.


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