Inside the busiest season of trades in Celtics history: The Rajon Rondo blockbuster

(Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The Celtics have stayed quiet on the trade front for the better part of the last few seasons but a big reason for that is the work they put in earlier this decade. As we wait for the NBA season to return, we will be taking a closer look at some of the more memorable seasons and transactions over Celtics' history. A fun place to begin is the 2014-15 campaign which nearly set a record for the franchise with 11 separate trades and 22 different players suiting up for Boston over the course of the season. Let’s dive into those deals individually (some more meaningful than others) and look at how they shaped the squad that set the stage for today’s group.

Part 1, Summer dealingInside the busiest year of trades in Celtics history: Part 1

December 2014
The Setup: The Celtics were in year two of the Brad Stevens era with low expectations out of the gate (27 wins was over/under total for season in Vegas). The future of Rajon Rondo was the top storyline for the franchise as the 28-year-old point guard entered a contract year for a rebuilding squad. Would Danny Ainge invest in him as a future building block for a core that lacked many long-term pieces? Or would he cash in to use Rondo to acquire more rebuilding assets? A 9-14 start to the season gave Ainge little incentive to hold onto Rondo in the present with the worry that he might walk for nothing after the season ended. On the heels of one of Rondo’s best games of the year in a win over the Magic (13 points, 15 assists), Ainge elected to pull the trigger, ending weeks of speculation.

The Trade:

Celtics received:

Brandan Wright

• Jae Crowder

• Jameer Nelson

• first-round pick (protected top 3 and #15-30 in 2015, top 7 in 2016-20, unprotected in 2021 which turned into #16-Guerschon Yabusele in 2016)

• 2016 second-round pick (more favorable of Grizzlies, Mavericks picks) (#45-Demetrius Jackson)

• $12.9M trade exception

-Celtics also waived Vitor Faverani to open up a roster spot for the trade to be legal.

Mavericks received

Rajon Rondo

• Dwight Powell

Why’d the Mavs do it: After a first-round exit in the postseason in 2014, Dallas was looking to make a bigger splash in the Western Conference. Despite a 19-8 start, an upgrade at point guard was a reasonable need over a 32-year-old Jameer Nelson who was a size liability on defense and wasn’t producing efficently on the offensive end (37.4 percent shooting from the field). Rondo was nearly two years removed from his ACL tear and had looked strong at points during his first full season back despite having little help on a bad Celtics team. With better talent to surround him in Dallas, the Mavs made the bet he would be worth a protected first-round pick along with a couple of expendable young role players for the gamble of bolstering their starting five with a four-time All-Star. Powell had played just nine minutes for the Celtics in his rookie year and needed to be included so Boston had enough roster spots available to make the trade. Incredibly, he ended up being the most helpful long-term piece Dallas acquired in the deal after Rondo walked in free agency following a disastrous postseason.

Why’d the Celtics do it: The Celtics had moved into asset acquisition mode in year two of their rebuild,