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Danny Ainge Trades a 2nd Round Pick for a 1st Rounder and Two Players

Boston.comThe Celtics will acquire Marcus Thornton, Tyler Zeller, and a 1st-round draft pick in a three-team deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets, according to an ESPN report… the Celtics are using the Traded Player Exception (TPE), acquired in the deal that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, to make the move. The Celtics aren’t giving up much to make the move:

 

 

 

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge appears to have timed this deal in conjunction with Cleveland’s desire to clear salary cap space to make a run at free agent LeBron James. In helping the Cavs clear Jack’s salary, the Celtics pick up three valuable assets. They may also have facilitated James’s return to Cleveland and exodus from Miami. The Cavaliers drafted the 7-foot-1-inch Zeller out of North Carolina with the 17th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He has career averages of 6.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He gives the Celtics (finally) a center to pair with their crush of power forwards on the front line. Thornton is a 26-year-old shooting guard who has played with three teams in seen NBA seasons. He averaged 12.3 points in 26 games for Brooklyn last season

I’m going to put aside for a moment that this move might facilitate turning Lebron into a folk hero for going back to Cleveland.  Or the rant I have built up inside me about how the NBA has sucked all the fun out of trade/free agent season with all these ridiculous, Byzantine rules that no one outside the front offices can understand.  Traded Player Exceptions and Sign & Trades and Mid Level Exemptions and expiring contracts and  max deals that can be worth entirely different amounts but are still the max.  It’s like the Periodic Table, except at one point in high school that made sense to me and this never did.  In the world I understood you traded players and draft picks for each other and you argued over whether you got back better than you gave.  But that’s a discussion for another time.  Right now it’s all about praising Danny Ainge because if this is true, it’s the Swindle of the Decade.  Notwithstanding how good Marcus Thornton and Tyler Zeller are, he got them PLUS a 1st rounder for a 2nd?  How is that even remotely possible?  That’s buying a six pack and Doritos, paying with a $10 bill and getting a 20 back in change.  It’s amazing how Danny is able to pull off this Bernie Madoff-level ripoffs and still have other GMs not block his calls.  Now assuming Philly doesn’t make the playoffs next year, he’ll be sitting on NINE 1st rounders in the next 5 years.  It’s like I’ve been saying about Belichick: At some point we’re going to see a draft where the Celtics have every single pick.  In Danny We Trust. @JerryThornton1

PS. If there’s an obvious downside to this, it’s that for two fabulous weeks, there was only one truly big deal named Thornton in this town.  Oh well.  It was fun while it lasted.

Last Thornton Standing