While Ainge’s replacement—former Celtics head coach Brad Stevens—has his work cut out for him in improving the Celtics’ roster going forward, we decided to put a wrap on Ainge’s time in Boston by looking back at the five best trades that he made as the Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations.
5. Boston Celtics trade down to draft Jayson Tatum (2017)
When the Boston Celtics landed the number one overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, most people assumed that they would select Washington guard Markelle Fultz, who was the consensus top prospect in the draft. However, Ainge pulled a surprise move, trading the pick to the rival Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the number three pick and a future first round pick.
The Sixers took Fultz, and the Celtics wound up selecting Duke forward Jayson Tatum third overall. Four years later, it seems safe to say that the Celtics won that deal handily. Tatum is already a two-time All-Star, while Fultz is no longer with the Sixers, and he has yet to average more than 13 points per game in a season. In addition, the Celtics used the additional pick that they acquired in the deal to select Romeo Langford, who has become a contributor off the bench.