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Celtics Acquire Marcus Thornton, Tyler Zeller, and 1st Rounder in 3-Team Trade

bos_g_danny-ainge_mb_576The Celtics had a few days left to use their traded player exception from the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett deal and it looks like they have pulled the trigger on a deal to add to their long list of assets.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com was first to report that the team is involved in a 3-team trade with the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers. Here are the details surrounding the detail as reported by Stein and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

Celtics get: Marcus Thornton, Tyler Zeller, and  first round pick from Cavs (top 10 protected 2016-2018, unprotected 2019)

Nets get: Sergey Karasev, Jarrett Jack

Cavs get: Some little known Nets prospects and the salary cap space to sign Lebron James if he picks them over Miami. 

A few quick thoughts on the deal from the web. 

1. The Celtics are also giving up a second rounder in the deal.

2. The C’s now have nine first round picks (at least over the next five seasons).

3. Yes, this should help the Celtics in the Kevin Love derby but it’s too early to tell how much of a difference it will make.

4. Tyler Zeller is a nice young player that has two years remaining on his rookie contract. He should fit in with the very young Celtics backcourt.

5. This is a masterful use by Danny Ainge and his front office on the trade exception. Take on salary at the cost of a first round pick and a nice young prospect.

Much more on this story as it develops in the coming hours…



  • KBA

    Nice work – in Danny we trust! Now lets catch some big fish!!

    Wonder what’s going on with Greg Monroe, haven’t heard much (other than Stan wants to keep him)….

    • Rich Jensen

      Greg Monroe may get a max contract offer from a team that doesn’t land Melo/LeBron, and that’s probably what he’s waiting for.

  • StaticFunctions

    Yay! Something that makes sense!

  • hax

    Great freaking deal.


    do do do-do-do

  • Joe

    Nothing like free first rounders! Maybe Marcus Thornton will wake up out of the coma he’s been playing in the last few years and get back to work!

  • hax

    This means Cleveland has secretly confirmed a LeBron signing….or they’re just dumb(still).

  • hax

    Zeller-Olynyk front court, two smooth 7 footers.


  • Ping

    What an excellent trade. Ainge found the perfect use of the TPE. I was expecting the C’s to take back a bloated veteran contract, but akin to the Richard Jefferson deal, Thornton’s is expiring.

    So not only did we get $9 mil in future cap space for a mystery 2nd rounder, but Danny added a 1st round pick AND a legitimate center prospect. Wow.

    Zeller was much better in year 2 and is under control for two more. He’s a decent rebounder and showed flashes of skill in the PnR and PnP. I sincerely hope he gets big minutes right away.

    The 1st rounder is top 10 protected, which is just fine. The Cavs were supposed to have the #9 pick and intend to contend. They should be outside the top 10 if they either land LeBron or pursue other veterans.

    Awesome awesome awesome.

    • hax

      If you double Zeller’s minutes to 30mpg, and conservatively double his stats, he is a 10 ppg/8 rpg center, which is solid. And that’s not counting a summer of improvement, better coaching, better franchise/trainers in general.

      We don’t know if he will improve, but all logic points to a solid double-double center. He’s only 24 this year.

  • hax

    Love & Budinger
    Green – Sullinger – Thornton – Cavs 1st rounder, 76’ers 1st rounder, Clippers 1st rounder.
    And if they want to drop Martin’s contract, we can give them Bass / or / Bogans & Anthony.
    Would give us
    And we’d still have plenty of picks to trade if Danny wouldn’t be content with that roster.

  • spotter

    Great use of the TPE. Now can DA move Bogans expiring contract for another asset?

  • smalltownID

    Would anyone disagree that it is likely none of the 9 first round picks Boston has in the next 5 years is likely to be a first rounder (assuming we don’t suck this year)? The 2016 nets pick being the most likely top ten pick.

    • hax

      You mean lottery pick?

      Celtics 2015: Right now, we’d probably be in the early teens of the lottery.

      Celtics 2016-2019: Probably a playoff team if we keep Rondo, even if we stick with the slow rebuild.

      76’ers 2015: They will likely miss the playoffs, turning this into two 2nd rounders.

      Clippers 2015: Nope.

      Brooklyn 2016: Unlikely.

      Brooklyn 2017 swap & 2018 1st rounder: With the core old and out of contracts, this team could get bad quickly. But they could rebuild with a free agent extravaganza. Hard to tell, but ‘somewhat likely’ to be a lottery pick.

      Cavs 2016: They have too much good young talent, cap room, and assets to keep sucking. Unlikely.

      • smalltownID

        Thanks Hax, you translated correctly. :)

      • planethunter

        I think Brooklyn 2016 is quite likely to be a lottery pick. That year, they’re capped out and have no Pierce or KG.

    • Ping

      Sounds like a cop-out, but honestly who knows? The Celtics could take a while to rebuild, pushing their own picks high in the lottery. Or they could land Love and others, making them a team in the draft’s 20s.

      The Nets’ older guys may retire and leave a barren roster that falls in the lottery. Or their billionaire owner could simply buy a new roster when KG/Pierce leave and put them back in the playoffs.

      Hard to say. No matter what though, the C’s have more picks than anyone and can use them as trade bait for promising players or high picks (think Chicago using 16 and 19 to get 11, a pretty significant jump).

      • smalltownID

        I think it was a great move ping. I was honestly curious what the likelihood was. Not even Michael Jordan could put this franchise in the tank with those assets.

  • dontevertreadonme

    ainge is loading up on Brad Stevens type players to fit his system and grand scheme. zeller was a college stand out, with the right coaching and right system this kid could reach his potential. stevens is an intelligent guy, coached at Butler an intelligent school, I think he’s looking for players with a brain in their head

  • DWillis

    Some fireworks, both guys could’ve been had at the deadline when bigger/better deals were promised during the summer. Ainge is a joke who got lucky in 07

    • Ping

      Both guys? Thornton and Zeller? They aren’t the point of the deal, the picks is. Still, they acquired expiring space, a center that’s only 23, and a first rounder for as little as possible. What’s wrong with that deal, might I ask?

      As for fireworks, the offseason isn’t over. LeBron hasn’t even signed, let alone the rest of the market. Even if they do start next season without Love or the likes, so what? Everyone seems to have assumed we were going immediately back to contender status. Reality is this team was bad last year and may take time to improve. Doesn’t make DA a joke. Makes him realistic and patient, two strong qualities in a GM.

  • dragon09

    Why hasn’t

  • Eisenhorn1976

    Why hasn’t Ainge been arrested yet??! He’s been robbing people since the 2013 draft!

    Seriously, though — this was an excellent move by the Celtics’ front office.

  • dasein

    I was thinking the exception would most likely go unused, and if it was would bring back something like Utah got last year.

    But a 1st, a young prospect, and a potential deadline trade chip? Well played Mr Ainge. Well played.

    Man, if LBJ goes back to Miami….hahaha