The Celtics trade of Rajon Rondo didn’t just net Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, a first-round pick and a second-round pick.
Boston also got a $12,909,090 trade exception.
The Cavaliers have sure taken notice.
Sources say the Cavs, in recent days, have been in contact with the Boston Celtics about working as a facilitator in three-team trade scenarios. The Celtics, blessed with frontcourt depth in the wake of their recent acquisition of Brandan Wright in the Rajon Rondo deal, have been aggressive recently in their attempts to acquire future draft picks.
The most obvious Cavaliers-Celtics trade is Wright for a draft pick(s), especially because Anderson Varejao’s injury will keep him out the rest of the season. The Cavaliers are still looking for a defensive-minded big after failing to land Timofey Mozgov or Kosta Koufos. Wright is a bigger offensive threat, but there’s obviously a limited pool of available quality bigs, and Tristan Thompson would need help.
However, Cleveland, which could absorb Wright’s salary into the Keith Bogans trade exception, and Boston could make that deal without a third team.
As for three-team deals, the possibilities are practically endless. The Celtics could use their trade exception to absorb unwanted salary, collecting another draft pick in the process. Boston already has five extra incoming first rounders (not counting one it’d receive only if the 76ers make the playoffs this season), but Danny Ainge would always take more picks to help the rebuild.
Only Varejao, if his injury is severe enough, is the only Cavalier who’d have that type of toxic contract. But, because of his recently signed extension, he can’t be traded until Cleveland’s season ends. That means the Celtics’ trade exception would be most useful accepting salary from another team.