After 3-Team Trade, Celtics Now Have An Incredible Number of Future 1st Round Draft Picks

Danny Ainge has been diligently stockpiling long-term assets ever since he dealt away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in a blockbuster trade last summer. With today’s reported acquisition of shooting guard Marcus Thornton, center Tyler Zeller, and a future first round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-team trade, that trend has continued.

The Celtics will only give up a second round pick (likely to be protected) in exchange for taking on Marcus Thornton’s $8.6 million dollar salary for the 2014-15 season. The team will be able to take on Thornton’s cap hit as well as Tyler Zeller’s $1.7 million salary next season with a $10.3 million dollar traded player exception left over from the Pierce/Garnett deal last summer.

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The most valuable part of the deal is the future first round draft pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting the pick has the following protections:

That future selection can be added to Boston’s extensive list of first round draft picks over the next four seasons. After this deal becomes official, the Celtics will have nine (and potentially up to ten) first round picks over the next four NBA Drafts. Here’s a full breakdown of all of those picks.

2015 First Round Picks
–Celtics own their first round pick.
–Celtics own unprotected Clippers first round pick (acquired in the Doc Rivers deal).
–*Celtics own a top-14 protected 76ers first round pick (acquired in the Joel Anthony trade).

*Important note on the Sixers pick: If the Sixers make the postseason next year, the Celtics get this pick. If not, it turns into two second round picks from the Sixers for 2015 and 2016. It’s highly unlikely the Sixers will turn themselves into a playoff team next year, which means Boston will probably net two top second round picks from this deal.

2016 First Round Picks
–Celtics own their first round pick.
–Celtics own unprotected Nets first round pick (acquired in the Pierce/Garnett deal).
–*Celtics own a top-ten protected Cavaliers first round pick (to be acquired via three-team trade with Nets and Cavs).

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*Important note on Cavs pick: The pick will go to the Celtics in 2016 if it falls from 11-30 in the NBA Draft. If not, it rolls over to the next season with the same restrictions (until 2019 when it becomes unprotected).

2017 First Round Picks
–Celtics own their first round pick.
–Celtics have the right to swap first round picks with the Nets (acquired in the Pierce/Garnett trade). If the Celtics exercise this right, they will have to give up a 2017 second rounder to the Nets (top 45 protected).

2018 First Round Picks
–Celtics own their first round pick.
–Celtics own unprotected Nets first round pick (acquired via Garnett/Pierce trade).

Needless to say, the Celtics won’t be using all of these draft picks over the next four years. After using two first round picks in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Celtics adding another first rounder to their stockpile is a big plus for the team. With this move Ainge again has the ability to include three or four first round picks in any trade in the coming days if a major opportunity comes about to improve their roster now.

Will that opportunity arise? Stay tuned.

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