Danny Ainge is in the process of hoarding draft picks. The Courtney Lee deal showed that cap flexibility is important as well, but the big prize is more and more draft picks. In fact, Ainge has actually taken on salary to pick up the picks in 2 of his last 3 trades (Gerald Wallace, Joel Anthony).
The latest haul includes a 2nd rounder from the Heat and a potential first rounder via the Sixers. If they fail to make the playoffs this year or next year, that turns it into two 2nd rounders. How likely is that? I'll let Zach Lowe give the bright side view.
Never underestimate the horribleness of the Eastern Conference. The Sixers will almost certainly have two lottery picks in this draft — their own and the one they acquired from the Pelicans for Jrue Holiday. That pick is top-five protected, and given New Orleans’s injury issues, it could fall somewhere around no. 8 or no. 9. Nail those picks, get Nerlens Noel healthy, and sign the requisite cap-fodder veterans, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Philly crawls into a low-end playoff spot next season — sending Boston a first-rounder in the process.
Of course the not so bright side is that the Sixers are in for the long haul rebuilding process and very well might not make the playoffs next year - even with an improved talent base.
So let's take a moment and review. Feel free to bookmark this post. It may come in handy later.
Draft picks that the Celtics own in the next 18 months:
- Boston's 2014 1st round pick - looking like a lottery pick
- Brooklyn's 2014 first round pick (lesser of Nets/Hawks picks) - probably not lottery
- Boston's 2015 first round pick - could be lottery, might not, we'll see
- Clippers' 2015 first round pick - most likely in the 20's next year
- Sixers' 2014 or 2015 first round pick (lottery protected; becomes 2 second rounders if Sixers fail to make playoffs in both years)
Longer term draft picks:
- Brooklyn's 2016 first round pick
- Boston's 2016 first round pick
- Boston's 2017 (with right to swap with the Nets)
- Brooklyn's 2018 first round pick
- Boston's 2018 first round pick
That is a lot of picks. A potential of 10 in the next 5 drafts and 5 in the next 2.
There are 2nd rounders coming and going as well, but I'll refer you to the RealGM page for that level of detail (though it doesn't appear to have been updated since yesterday's trade).