Phoenix Trades Another Point Guard

BOSTON receives: Isaiah Thomas
PHOENIX receives: Marcus Thornton, Cleveland’s 2016 First Round Pick–top-10 protected

Danny Ainge has been stockpiling draft picks for years, and now he has finally taken a step forward and utilized one of those picks to bring Boston some NBA talent. While Marcus Thornton has been decent for the Celtics this season, shooting 41.9% from behind the arc on 3.2 attempts per game on his way to almost 20 points per 36 minutes, he is a 27 year-old on the last year of his deal. Instead of having to calculate Thornton’s worth in the off-season, they’ve decided to package the veteran winger with a future first to bring in Isaiah Thomas and his very palatable contract. First of all, it is important to note that this is Cleveland‘s first round pick, not Boston. The same Cleveland team with LeBron James on it. This pick isn’t ending up better than the 23rd pick in next year’s draft–and will likely be several spots lower. While it is possible to find a contributor at that point in the draft, it is far from a sure thing. Flipping that risk into a starting-caliber point guard, and securing a three guard rotation of Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, and Avery Bradley through 2018 for less than $20m/season provides Boston with a pretty strong backcourt in the near future. The biggest drawback to this trade is Boston’s 2015 first round pick. The Celtics are currently within two wins of eight different NBA franchises. Adding such a productive young guard could drop their draft position several spots come June. But eventually you need to put players on the court, and I think this was a pretty easy decision for Ainge: A-

Ryan McDonough’s Suns shipped another starting-caliber point guard, this time getting a draft pick in return. In theory, it’s a good deal for Phoenix: trade a backup point guard making $7m this season for a first round pick in next year’s draft. But unfortunately it’s not that simple. Because Dragic had definitely played his last game in a Suns uniform, Thomas instantly becomes a starter. Suddenly his $7m contract (which actually gets cheaper each of the next four years) is a coup, and you are back to having a exciting guard dynamic with Isaiah Thomas and Eric Bledsoe for a very reasonable price. But instead McDonough shuffled his guards around the league, and from here on out will remember Isaiah Thomas as “that guy who played here for five months and netted me a first round pick.” There were certainly worse returns yesterday from half-season rentals (*cough* Kevin Garnett). So it wasn’t all bad for the Suns: C+

**All stats/salary/research from Basketball-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted**

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