The Celtics are known as one of the greatest franchises in sports history. They’ve earned 17 NBA championships, the most in NBA history. They’ve also made some awesome deals, like when they traded for Ray Allen or when they traded away all their veterans for Brooklyn’s top pick for the next 3 years.
Despite their great achievements, the Celtics like any other franchise, has made some bad deals.
5. Acquisition of Vin Baker – 2002
During the offseason in 2002, The Celtics tried to make a move to get a big man in the eastern conference where there was a lack of skilled big men. They traded with Seattle, giving up Kenny Anderson, Joseph Forte and Vitaly Potapenko for Vin Baker and Shammond Williams. The former all-star, Vin Baker, was their supposed solution to this problem. Unfortunately, they tried taking a risk on a player with known problems off the court and ended up paying for it. Baker averaged a measly 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds during his 1st season which included loads of off the court problems and suspensions.
The Celtics didn’t give up much considering Kenny Anderson was past his prime at this time but, they wasted their time with a big man who caused more problems than solved them.
4. Trading away Antoine Walker- 2003
Coming off two straight all-star seasons, Antoine Walker was dealt with Tony Delk to Dallas for Raef LaFrentz, Jiri Welsch and Chris Mills. The Mavericks were looking to improve their offense and seemed to rob the Celtics of their former all-star. Walker’s production decreased but, the Celtics got minor role players in return.
The worst part, in his 3-year stint with the Celtics, Raef LaFrentz was paid $30 million to average 9.2 points per game and 5.8 rebounds. Highway robbery. Despite his decline, there isn’t much evidence to justify this trade.
3. Trading away Chauncey Billups – 1998
Less than 1 season after drafting him 3rd overall, Rick Pitino made the move to trade Billups for a more established NBA veteran to help them make the playoffs. Chauncey Billups and Dee Brown were sent to the Raptors for Kenny Anderson, Popeye Jones and Zan Tabak. This is no disrespect to Kenny Anderson who was very solid NBA player but, the Celtics have to look back at this trade and regret doing it. Kenny Anderson, in his 5 seasons averaged 11.3 points per game and 5.2 rebounds.
Billups went on to be a 5x All-Star in his career and being a vital catalyst to the Detroit Pistons championship team. You can only imagine what Chauncey could’ve done if the Celtics kept him and let him progress there.
2. Acquiring Charlie Scott for Paul Westphal – 1975
A trade that most young fans won’t know about. After the 1974-1975 season, Paul Westphal and 2 2nd round picks were sent to Phoenix for Charlie Scott. Scott had made 3 All-star teams with the Suns while averaging 24.8 points per game during that time. Once he was traded to Bostons, his production significantly decreased, as he dropped to 17.5 points per game. On the other hand, Paul Westphal excelled right after being traded.
He made 5 All-star teams and averaged 20.6 points per game with the Suns in 6 seasons.
1.Trading away Joe Johnson – 2002
After drafting Joe Johnson with the 10th overall pick, The Celtics dealt him after only 48 games for veteran role players. They traded Joe Johnson, Randy Brown and Milt Palacio to the Suns for Tony Delk and Rodney Rogers. In an effort to acquire veterans to win an NBA championship, the Celtics fell short as Delk and Rogers didn’t turn out too much for them in that push. The worst part about this deal, Joe Johnson developed into an All-Star. Johnson has been selected to 7 All-Star teams in his career and was known as one of the most underrated superstars during his prime.
After failing to win the NBA championship the Celtics went through a rough couple seasons. If they had kept Johnson and had him develop with Paul Pierce, they wouldn’t have went through that rough stretch. Johnson and Pierce could’ve been a deadly combo.