Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has made his first tweak to his team’s roster this preseason.
The Celtics have finalized a trade Friday afternoon to send center Joel Anthony to the Detroit Pistons for point guard Will Bynum.
Anthony is earning $3.8 million this season in the final year of his contract and averaged just 0.8 points and 1.2 rebounds in 33 games last season split between Boston and Miami.
The 32-year-old big man has played in just two of six games for the Celtics so far this preseason due to Boston’s crowded frontcourt situation. With both Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller excelling at the five over the season’s first couple weeks, Brad Stevens clearly did not have much use for Anthony heading into the regular season.
While the dealing of Anthony may not come as a surprise, the addition of another guard to the Celtics backcourt in Bynum is a bit of a shock.
The 31-year-old Bynum has been the Pistons primary reserve point guard over the last five seasons, but he arrives in a backcourt already filled with point guards in Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart, Phil Pressey and (sometimes) Evan Turner. If Boston’s backcourt remains intact before the season begins, playing time for Bynum will be hard to come by.
With the logjam in the backcourt, one of the motivators of the deal for Boston is clearly the money factor. Bynum only earns $2.975 million this season, so the Celtics will save roughly $900,000 from the trade.
It’s also worth noting that Bynum is a much more productive player than Anthony at this stage of his career, having averaged 8.7 points and 3.9 assists in just 18.8 minutes per game last season. Whether Ainge elects to keep Bynum or trade him away to another team, he should have more value for the team than Anthony moving forward, making this deal a win for Boston overall.
Overall, the bottom line here is that after this trade, the Celtics front office isn’t done with their player maneuvering before the season begins. This team’s roster construction doesn’t make sense right now, but the team will continue to tinker with it, making moves with an eye towards the future in the coming months. Stay tuned.