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A Look Back At The Best (And Worst) Trades in Celtics History

By Johnny Carey, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- The NBA trade deadline is coming up this Thursday, so while you're eagerly awaiting to see what Danny Ainge has up his sleeve, take a look back at some of the best and worst trades in Celtics history.

The Best

1956: Ed Macauley, Cliff Hagan (and the Ice Capades?) to Rochester for Bill Russell

Eleven titles in 13 years. Eight in a row. Bill Russell was the ultimate winner. In 1956, Red Auerbach made what at the time was a tough decision to send Macauley and Hagan to the St. Louis Hawks in exchange for the second overall pick in the NBA Draft. Legend has it that Auerbach was able to persuade the Rochester Royals to pass on Russell at first overall in exchange for a promise that The Ice Capades would travel to Rochester. Considering the Ice Capades went out of business when I was less than 1 year old, I don't quite understand the appeal, but I hope they were absolutely incredible, because Bill Russell had a pretty solid career in Boston. Ice Capades aside, there's no denying how much the swap changed the landscape of the NBA. Auerbach's trade for what turned into Russell was arguably the biggest steal in league history.

Bill Russell
Bill Russell posing with his championship rings (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

1980: Two first-round picks to Golden State for Robert Parish and Kevin McHale

Red was at it again in 1980, as the legendary coach/team president added two future Hall of Famers in another steal of a trade. The Celtics received Robert Parish and the third overall pick in the 1980 draft from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for the first and 13th overall picks. Of course, that third overall choice turned into Kevin McHale. The team went on to win three titles (1981, 1984, 1986) thanks in large part to Parish and McHale, while Golden State wouldn't win another title until last season.

Kevin McHale #32 of the Boston Celtics posts up against the Dallas Mavericks during a game played in 1984 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

Just About Everything in 2007:

Part One: Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, Jeff Green to Seattle for Ray Allen and Glen Davis

Part Two: Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair and two first-round picks to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett

What an offseason Danny Ainge had in 2007. The Celtics GM orchestrated one of the quickest turnarounds in league history, as he took a team from the tank to a championship in one year. Allen and Garnett joined Paul Pierce to form the Celtics' new "Big Three," and the rest was history. While Jefferson has had a nice career, Ainge didn't really give up anything else of value to acquire two future Hall of Fame players still in their primes. Anything is possible!!!!

Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett
Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in the 2010 NBA Finals. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

2013: The Day the Nets Decided to Take a Five-Year Break From Basketball

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and D.J. White to Brooklyn for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans, three first-round draft picks (2014, 2016 and 2018), and the right to swap first-round picks in 2017

Oh no, Billy King. This trade would never go through on 2K, and it should never have gone through in Brooklyn either. While Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov stated that "the basketball gods smiled on the Nets" that day, I think he may have been mistaken. Having just moved to Brooklyn, the Nets were looking for name notoriety in Garnett, Pierce and Terry, and were convinced that a championship was within reach. If this trade had happened 10 years earlier, it would have been worth it for the Nets. All three ex-Celtics no longer play in Brooklyn, while the team is still on the books for two more first-round picks and the right to swap in 2017. If that wasn't bad enough, the Celtics have also already used a trade exception earned in the deal to acquire all-star Isaiah Thomas.

Job well done, Danny.

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry show off their Brooklyn Nets jerseys. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Worst

1998: Chauncey Billups and Dee Brown to Toronto for Kenny Anderson, Popeye Jones, and Zan Tabak

The Celtics gave up on Chauncey Billups less than a year after drafting him third overall. Oops. Celtics coach Rick Pitino felt pressured to make the playoffs, so Pitino decided it'd be a great idea to move on from the young point guard. "Mr. Big Shot" as he's now known went on to have quite the career in Detroit; granted it did take him stops in Toronto, Denver and Minnesota on the way before blossoming into a star. Anderson stuck around in Boston until 2002, but as a whole, the return for Billups was very underwhelming.

Rick Pitino
Rick Pitino (Photo by Stuart Cahill/AFP/Getty Images)

2002: Joe Johnson, Randy Brown, Milt Palacio, and a first-round pick to Phoenix for Tony Delk and Rodney Rogers

Seven-time NBA All-Star Joe Johnson was very briefly a member of the Boston Celtics. The team's 10th-overall pick in the 2001 Draft played only 48 games for the Celtics before being traded to Phoenix. At the time, the team's thought process was to go for a shot at the title that season. The trade didn't work out, however, as Boston lost to the Nets in the Eastern Conference Finals that season, and ended up losing out on a future all-star.

Boston Celtics v Atlanta Hawks

2003: Antoine Walker and Tony Delk to Dallas for Raef LaFrentz, Jiri Welsch and Chris Mills

Raef LaFrentz was in year two of a seven-year, $70 million dollar contract. That's all you need to know about this trade.

Antoine Walker. (Credit: Jesse D Garrabrant/NBAE/ GETTY IMAGES)

2011: Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstić

On paper, this trade really wasn't so bad. Jeff Green was a young, talented scorer and Kendrick Perkins didn't have the greatest career in Oklahoma City. Still, toughness was lacking from the Celtics after the trade, which hurt the team's chances at returning to the NBA Finals. Doc Rivers admitted the trade was a mistake later on, which added more credence to the belief that Perkins was an essential piece of the Celtics at the time.


Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins was one of five Celtics traded before the NBA's trade deadline on Thursday. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Will the 2016 Trade Deadline add another big deal to either list?

Johnny Carey is a senior at Boston College. You can find him on Twitter @JohnnyHeights.


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