4 Biggest Boston Celtics Trades

min read
Kevin Garnett seeing action as a Boston Celtic in an NBA game in January 2008.
(Wikimedia Commons/Keith Allison)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Oct 01, 2023, 7:31 PM
  • Here are the 4 biggest Boston Celtics trades in franchise history.
  • Bill Russell leads the list of players that Boston received through trade.
  • Other notable players the Celtics acquired were Kevin Garnett, Kristaps Porzingis, and valuable draft picks that were used to select Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

As one of the leading franchises with the most titles in the league, the Boston Celtics have acquired several players that delivered a title to the team. Thanks to these players, the team has won 17 titles, which is tied with the Lakers for the most in the NBA. The Massachusetts-based team acquired these superstars through the draft and by big-time trades, which made them constant favorites in basketball odds.

In relation to trades, the Celtics were involved in various team deals that immensely helped in their quest to win titles, remain competitive, and keep their status as a premier basketball team for its fans. Here’s a look at four of the biggest Boston Celtics trades that changed the franchise’s fate and trajectory.

Bill Russell

Even before Bill Russell entered the NBA, the then-Boston Celtics head coach Red Auerbach wanted him on the team; however, they didn’t own any of the top three lottery picks that year. This prompted Boston to negotiate with the Rochester Royals to draft another player besides Russell as their number one overall pick and package a deal to the St. Louis Hawks in exchange for their second pick in that year’s draft.

Ultimately, everything went as planned, as the Royals selected Si Green, and the Hawks agreed to trade their pick in exchange for Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan. The Celtics drafted Russell, and the rest was history, as he became one of the best Boston Celtics players of all time by leading the team to 11 championships in his 13 seasons.

Kevin Garnett

After over two decades of a title drought in 2007, Boston grew tired of waiting and losing, which is why they managed to pull off a massive trade that obtained the services of former league MVP Kevin Garnett. In exchange for the Minnesota Timberwolves superstar, the Celtics gave up a haul of players: Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, and Sebastian Telfair with two future first-round picks.

This gamble worked well for Boston, as they formed a superteam of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. In their first season together, they instantly transformed into title contenders and recorded one of the top four winning season turnarounds by an NBA team, finishing the regular season with 66 wins. To put the icing on the cake, they eventually won the title against their rival, Los Angeles Lakers, in six games.

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum

Another big trade that Boston pulled off happened in 2013, when they finally moved on from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce by piecing a trade package around them to acquire future picks and start the brief rebuild. Aside from Garnett and Pierce, the Celtics shipped Jason Terry, D.J. White, and two future picks to the Brooklyn Nets for Kris Humphries, Gerald Green, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, and four future first-round picks.

This trade didn’t immediately pan out for the franchise because they missed the 2014 postseason. Also, it was only in 2016 and 2017 that they reaped the fruits of that transaction with the Nets, as they used the valuable first-round picks to select Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum from the draft. Since then, they have never missed the playoffs and reached the NBA Finals in 2022.

Kristaps Porzingis

The most recent big trade that the Celtics were involved in occurred in June 2023, where they joined the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade that sent them Kristaps Porzingis and two first-round picks in exchange for Marcus Smart, Danilo Gallinari, Mike Muscala, and a second-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Porzingis’ impact on the team is yet to be seen, but his size and play style might be the piece that Boston has been missing all this time. The 2018 All-Star played for the Knicks, Mavericks, and Wizards in the first seven seasons of his career, averaging career numbers of 17.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks.

Boston Celtics Biggest Trades

Player AcquiredTrade DetailsYear
Bill RussellCeltics received: Bill Russell / Hawks received: Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan1957
Kevin GarnettCeltics received: Kevin Garnett / Timberwolves received: Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, and Sebastian Telfair with two future first-round picks2007
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum (as picks)Celtics received: Kris Humphries, Gerald Green, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, and four future first-round picks / Nets received: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, D.J. White, and two future picks2013
Kristaps PorzingisCeltics received: Kristaps Porzingis, two first-round picks / Grizzlies received: Marcus Smart / Wizards received: Tyus Jones, Danilo Gallinari, Mike Muscala, second-round pick2023

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.