Less than an hour ago, Mark Stein reported than an agreement had been made on a three-way deal involving Cleveland, Brooklyn and Boston that would send Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev to the Nets, Marcus Thornton, Tyler Zeller, and Cleveland's 2016 first round pick (top ten protected 2016-18, no protection 2019) to the Celtics. In return the Celtics will send a future second round pick to the Cavaliers.
It is easy to see that the Cavaliers are dumping salaries to the Nets and Celtics in order to create the cap room for Lebron James, but the motivation of the Celtics may not be as simple.
1) The Celtics taking Tyler Zeller may be just as it appears, he could develop into a good player while filing a need the that the team has. Zeller is a 7 footer who was a mid first round pick two years ago, his size and length are something that the C's are in great need of.
2) The addition of yet another future first round pick can never be a bad thing, everyone knows that Danny Ainge loves to stockpile picks, and he is doing just that. With that being said, the protection on this pick is a big deal. If Lebron does not choose to go home to Cleveland it seems inevitable that the Cavaliers will find themselves back in the top ten for the next few years, therefore the Celtics will not receive the pick until most likely 2018 or later. However if LBJ returns to Cleveland, the team will immediately be the Eastern Conference favorite and the Celtics can expect to receive a 2016 pick no earlier than pick 25.
3) Taking on Marcus Thornton however is a little more interesting and less clear cut, but here are the facts: The Celtics used the 10 million dollar trade exception (see: Paul Pierce Trade) to take on Thornton. Thornton is in the final year of his contract and is slated to make $8.5 million.
The addition can be interpreted in a few ways, the use of the trade exception will make it extremely hard for the team to bring in any valuable players via trades. Add the Thornton deal to Rajon Rondo's lack of a trade market, and failed attempts at trading for Kevin Love, and it seems as if we will be watching a sequel to last years movie, everyone welcome, Celtics Tank Part Two (starring Jahlil Okafor). Thornton, at this point, seems to just be here to burn a hole in Wyc's pocket, but come mid-season he could have some real value. Thornton's solid three point shooting ability makes him an interesting trade candidate to go to a contending team before next years deadline. Thornton's expiring contract also makes him extremely valuable (see: Spencer Hawes) for teams that plan to go after marquee free agents in the 2015 off season.
Overall, the move seems like a can't lose one for the C's, it seems as if the team will continue to rebuild (tank), and plan for the future. With all of that being said, Danny Ainge can never be counted out, and he has plenty of assets to make a move for the present if he wants to.