Danny Ainge has pulled off another shrewd move, gathering more assets to his overflowing collection without sacrificing anything in return.
Celtics will be acquiring Perry Jones, a second round pick and cash from Oklahoma City. Not really giving up anything. Tax deal for OKC.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) July 14, 2015
Ok, so technically Boston has to send something to Oklahoma City in return, but as The Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett points out, it isn't expected to amount to much. Odds are that it won't be more than a protected second-round pick that they may never have to part with, which is what Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman is hearing.
The Thunder will receive a protected second-round pick from Boston and a trade exception of about $2.1 million. But this is a salary dump.— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) July 14, 2015
At the cost of next to nothing, what's the risk of taking a flier on a former first-round pick entering the final year of his rookie contract? Jones doesn't have the most appealing resume, with career averages of 3.4 points and 1.8 rebounds, but he has spent most of his career buried on the bench of a loaded Thunder team.
The 23-year old may have some untapped potential that is worth exploring. Last season he exploded for a career-high 32 points in a game against the Clippers on Nov. 30, then followed that up with a 20 point performance in his next game against Denver. Those were the only two games where he received 40+ minutes last season. He played at least 27 minutes four other times last year, scoring in double-digits in each of them. When he receives significant playing time he has flashed the type of scoring potential the Celtics are searching for, while a more consistent role could help improve his efficiency.
The 6'11'' Jones can play either forward position, but his natural small forward spot is where the Celtics need the most help. He's a talented player that has never been able to put it together consistently, but it's not hard to imagine him carving out a role for himself on this team.
If it doesn't work out, who cares? No big loss. Boston still gets a second-round pick in the deal (OKC is sending a 2019 pick they acquired from Detroit in the Reggie Jackson trade), which is likely more valuable than the protected pick they are giving up.
Since the Celtics haven't officially completed Jae Crowder's new contract or finalized the David Lee trade, they are able to take Jones' approximately $2 million salary into some of their remaining cap space. It may not seem like much, but it's a savvy bit of cap maneuvering that has allowed the Celtics to use that space to add some assets before going over the cap to re-sign Crowder.
This deal is more firecrackers than fireworks, but it's another example of Ainge making smaller moves to position himself for a bigger move down the line.