Report: Celtics Exploring Trading 28th Pick for Anthony Bennett


The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Boston Celtics are reportedly discussing a deal that would send the Celtics Anthony Bennett.  In addition to Bennett, the Celtics would receive the Timberwolves’ two second-round picks (31 and 36) in exchange for the Celtics’ 28th pick.

Just two years after being selected with the first overall pick, Bennett is once again on the trade block, and this time at the price of a mere 28th pick.  The Timberwolves have made it clear around the league that Bennett’s available, illustrating Minnesota’s desire to clear cap space. With the 28th pick, the Timberwolves will be paying about 1/7th what they’d owe Anthony Bennett.

If this trade goes through, the Celtics would have four second round picks (31, 33, 36 and 45th). With the current structuring of rookie contracts, early second round picks are actually more valuable than late-first round picks, considering players drafted in the second round are on non-guaranteed contracts, and thus easily tradeable (considering teams can simply use them to match salaries in order to make trades work).

While Bennett is owed $5.8 million this season, his contract behaves as an expiring, considering the last year of his rookie contract has a team option. Teams almost always pick up the last year on a number one draft pick’s option, otherwise they’d likely owe them a max contract, however, Bennett has been one of the most disappointing number one draft picks in recent memory.

Perhaps the worst thing to happen to the Bennett was going first in the 2013 draft. Everybody, including Bennett, was surprised to hear the UNLV forward’s name called first. Bennett unfortunately inherited the lofty expectations intrinsically bestowed upon top picks.  From day one, the fear of being a “draft bust” haunted Bennett’s name.

After a slow start in Cleveland, Bennett’s confidence was shot. After shooting a civilian 35% from the field and posting an abysmal PER of 6.9, Bennett had established himself as a draft bust, despite being only 21-years-old at the time. The Cavaliers then traded him, along with Andrew Wiggins, to the Timberwolves for Kevin Love, which, at the time seemed like a great opportunity as he’d now be playing on a younger team, where’ll he’ll likely see more playing time.

However, Bennett contended with injury and found himself behind, Gorgui Dieng, Nikola Pekovic, Thad Young, Chase Budinger and (even to an extent) Kevin Garnett on the depth chart.

At this rate Bennett will find himself playing overseas.

This doesn’t have to be the end for Bennett though.  He is only 22-years-old and has a style of play very much in-demand in the modern NBA. At 6’8″, Bennett can play both the Small Forward and Power Forward positions. However, Bennett has now shown up to Summer League overweight twice and found himself too slow to guard small forwards and too doughy to battle power forwards in the paint.

What Bennett exhibited in college though, was an ability to spread the floor.  At UNLV, Bennett averaged 16.1, 8.1 rebounds and shot 38% from three-point range. If he could therefore manage to trim some of the fat (that goes for you too, Sully), he could carve himself a nice role in the NBA as a stretch-forward.  If Brad Stevens can (partially) shed Evan Turner’s draft bust reputation, perhaps he can do the same for Anthony Bennett as well.