On Tuesday, the Celtics completed a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, whereby Perry Jones was sent to Boston with a 2019 Second Round draft pick and cash in exchange for a future Second Round pick.
No, I didn’t mistype anything. This move was purely a salary dump for Oklahoma City, who after matching Enes Kanter’s offer sheet with the Trail Blazers needed to make a move to alleviate the salary cap tax they would otherwise have to pay.
At first glance, Jones is nothing to write home about. He’s averaged about 3.5 Points and 2 Rebounds for his career. So it goes, when you’re stuck behind Kevin Durant, Anthony Morrow, Nick Collison and Kyle Singler on the depth chart.
Of course, there’s more than what meets the eye. Jones was projected to be a Top 5 pick in 2011, but opted to stay in school an extra year. That decision proved costly, as he seemed to regress on a revamped Baylor team that may have been preparing for him to bolt after just one season.
In the Summer of 2012, I hardly slept thinking about the possibility of Jones falling into Boston’s lap with either the 21st or 22nd picks. Instead, they opted for Jared Sullinger and (deep breath) Fab Melo. Jones slipped to OKC at 28, which instantly became the steal of the draft.
As is usually the case with non-lottery OKC rookies, Jones barely saw the court in his first two years. He watched film and soaked up the wisdom of guys like KD, Russ Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka. He was patient and never voiced frustration. So when the 2014-15 season finally rolled around, Jones was ready when his name was called. He started the season playing major minutes; over 30 to be exact through the first four. Here’s the highlight reel of his 32 Point performance on the second game of the season:
He does a little bit of everything: scoring, shooting, passing, rebounding and defense. And here, he does it against a loaded Clippers team.
Unfortunately, he hurt his knee, and by the time he was ready to play again, Durant had returned from injury, eating any available minutes.
Jones will get a chance to play more consistent minutes in Boston. More importantly though, he’ll be on a roster that lacks a single All-Star. His agent, Bill Duffy, said, “The Celtics are an up-and-coming team that doesn’t [sic] really have a superstar per se. They’re looking at who should they go forward with. For Perry, that’s a great situation to walk into.”
Obviously, the Cs didn’t just acquire Kevin Durant, but they did acquire a 23 year-old 6’11 forward who Durant called, “the best athlete in the league.” Jones will have to compete for minutes against the likes of Evan Turner, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Jared Sullinger and David Lee, but Brad knows how to spread minutes and talent around accordingly.
With this trade, the Celtics now have 16 bodies on a 15-man roster before any trimming. They aren’t done making moves either. Phil Pressey’s contract becomes fully guaranteed by the end of the day today if he isn’t traded or waived. Nevertheless, Danny has added considerable depth since the draft in lieu of a superstar. Perry Jones is a great addition that could turn out to be a steal in the best case scenario.
Stay tuned for what lies ahead.