Trading high picks not always a safe bet

Trading high picks not always a safe bet
April 18, 2014, 1:15 pm
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Having finished in a tie for the fourth-worst record in the NBA this season, the Celtics (25-57) can do no worst than select at No. 8 in June's NBA draft.

Still, even with a relatively high pick secured, that won't necessarily be enough to keep Danny Ainge from pulling the trigger on a deal to move the pick.

The last time Boston had a pick that high, it was in 2007 when they packaged the pick, fifth overall, with players to acquire an established veteran.

That pick was used to select Jeff Green. The player Boston acquired for him was Ray Allen from Seattle (now Oklahoma City).

"You hear all the time about this being a business. I learned that first-hand on the day I was drafted," Green told

The arrival of Allen opened the floodgates for Kevin Garnett to sign with Boston and the rest is Banner 17 history.

That worked out pretty well for the Green team, huh?

But as we have seen in recent years on draft night, unloading picks that high isn't a sure-fire path towards success.

The 2008 NBA draft saw the Minnesota Timberwolves make a bold draft night move in swapping their No. 3 pick (O.J. Mayo) for Memphis' No. 5 pick which turned out to be Kevin Love.

Mayo has shown flashes of being really good and was close at one point of being traded to Boston for Allen.

Meanwhile, Love has gone on to establish himself as one of the best big men in the NBA. However, his individual success has not translated into victories for a Minnesota team that hasn't been to the playoffs since 2004.

Still, acquiring Love was one of the few clear-cut victories for the Timberwolves in terms of player movement in recent years.

Things were really shaken up in the 2006 draft at the top.

The Chicago Bulls swapped the second overall pick, LaMarcus Aldridge, to Portland for a package spearheaded by the No. 4 overall pick, Tyrus Thomas.

Yeah, that Tyrus Thomas!

Aldridge has gone on to become a three-time All-Star while Thomas isn't even in the league anymore.

In the same draft, Minnesota sent the No. 6 pick Brandon Roy, to Portland for Randy Foye.

Foye came to the Timberwolves as part of a trade with the Boston Celtics who acquired Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and a 2008 second-round pick.

Give Foye his due.

He has had a solid career in the NBA, but Roy - in his prime at least - was the better player. Injuries cut short Roy's career that showed Hall of Fame potential if not for the various knee ailments that ultimately forced him to retire still in his mid-20s.

And then there was the Rudy Gay trade between Houston and Memphis. The Rockets shipped out Gay, the No. 8 pick in the 2006 draft, along with Stromile Swift in exchange for Shane Battier.

But the franchise-changing draft night move in 2006 came several draft spots later when the Celtics acquired the No. 21 pick from Phoenix that was used to acquire Rajon Rondo who has more all-star selections (4) than any other player from his draft class.

None of the players taken in the top 8 in 2005 were moved on draft night, and in 2004 Devin Harris, the No. 5 pick by Washington, was shipped out to Dallas and Loul Deng was taken with the No. 7 pick by Phoenix and immediately shipped to Chicago for a second round pick and cash.

It's far too soon to say what Ainge and company will do with their first pick on draft night.

Will they keep it and use it to select a player for themselves, or maybe move down a few spots and acquire additional assets?

Or will they do what team co-owner Wyc Grousbeck talked about recently and have a summer of "fireworks" with the goal being to speed up the rebuilding of this still-proud franchise.

When asked about the fireworks comment this summer by Grousbeck, Ainge quipped, "I think the Fourth of July we’ll have some fireworks."

But as far as what the Celtics will do, Ainge said, "I don’t know, we’re hopeful; I have some ideas and some plans that I’d like to do but there’s just no guarantee that we can do it. We need to find good trading partners. We always are trying to make fireworks every summer; we try to do something that’s unique and special and we will definitely try this summer.”