Inside the busiest season of trades in Celtics history: The Isaiah Thomas deadline surprise (Part 4)

(Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

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: Inside the busiest year of trades in Celtics history: Part 1
Part 2: Inside the busiest season of trades in Celtics history: The Rajon Rondo blockbuster
Part 3: Inside the busiest season of trades in Celtics history: Selling high on Jeff Green

February 2015

The Setup: The Celtics had finally found a little bit of rhythm heading into the All-Star Break, winning four of their last five games before the trade deadline to improve to 20-31 on the year. A season full of roster shuffling from dealing away top players in Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo had allowed Brad Stevens to started to place his stamp on the team a bit more and get added buy-in from the rest of the roster. With that said, there were two very different ways the Celtics could have gone at the trade deadline. One involved moving more veteran pieces like Evan Turner and Brandon Bass for whatever future returns the team could manage.

A source familiar with the situation said Stevens fought hard against these types of moves ahead of the deadline, however. After dealing with a bunch of mismatched parts on a rebuilding squad over his first 1.5 years in Boston, he wanted a chance to shape something, especially with this group starting to show some promise in early February. That type of progress pushed the Celtics front office in a surprising direction at the deadline, where they weren’t looking to avoid improving in the present, despite a record (20-31) that presented a good case for tanking.

The Trade:

Celtics received:

• Isaiah Thomas

Suns received:

—Marcus Thornton

—2016 Cavs first round pick

Why’d the Suns do it: This was a classic case of having too many cooks in a kitchen (or in this instance, the backcourt) for Suns GM Ryan McDonough. The former C’s front office member had just been hired to