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Donovan Mitchell trade rumors a reminder that former Celtics, current Jazz executive Danny Ainge knows how to win star trades

Kevin Garnet and Ray Allen
donovan mitchell trade rumors a reminder that former celtics, current

What price is Jazz asking for Donovan Mitchell in trade talks with the Knicks? Well, according to The Athletic’s Tony Jones, Danny Ainge, CEO of basketball operations in Utah, wants “everything but the Statue of Liberty.”

If you’ve followed Ainge’s career as a front office executive, this report should come as no surprise. The former Celtics basketball operations president always seeks bargaining power and sets the bar extremely high when trying to move a big name.

But Ainge also has experience on the other side of the table. During his time in Boston, he scored several blockbuster trades that improved his team’s championship chances.

As the Jazz continues to discuss a Mitchell deal with the Knicks (and possibly other teams), it’s worth looking back at Ainge’s history of winning star trades – and yes, he won big.

MORE: When trading draft picks works for a star

The Trade in Ray Allen (2007)

Celtics have: Ray Allen, Glen Davis

SuperSonics has: Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, 2008 second-round pick (was Trent Plaisted)

Allen is the headliner here. The Hall of Famer had enjoyed stellar successes in Milwaukee and Seattle up to this point in his career, but he had never been able to conquer that elusive ring. He finally got that opportunity in Boston and won his first title in 2008.

But don’t forget that Ainge also caught Davis. He developed into a solid role player for the Celtics and always wowed the TD Garden crowd with his intensity.

The Trade in Kevin Garnett (2007)

Celtics have: Kevin Garnett

Timberwolves have: Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, 2009 first-round pick (became Wayne Ellington), 2009 first-round pick (became Jonny Flynn)

Garnett was in a similar position to Allen in 2007. As a Minnesota franchise cornerstone, he never had enough support to get out of the Western Conference. He had Allen and Paul Pierce by his side in Boston and gave the Celtics a “Big Three” that won the franchise’s 17th championship.

Despite the fact that Minnesota got back a total of seven assets in exchange for Garnett — it was the first seven-for-one deal in NBA history — the Wolves clearly ended up on the losing side of that trade. What a summer for Ainge.

The Trade Between Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum (2013)

Celtics have: Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace, 2014 first-round pick (James Young), 2016 first-round pick (became Jaylen Brown), 2017 first-round pick (became Markelle Fultz), 2018 first-round pick Round pick (became Collin Sexton)

have nets: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, DJ White, 2017 first-round pick (became Kyle Kuzma), 2017 second-round pick (became Sasha Vezenkov)

Allen had signed with The Heat in 2012, and Garnett and Pierce were both well past their prime. Realizing it was time to hit the reset button, Ainge capitalized on Brooklyn’s desire to be a contender and set Boston up for future success.

The Celtics selected Brown with the 2016 pick and traded the 2017 No. 1 overall for the No. 3 and future first-round winner to the 76ers, ultimately choosing Tatum. It worked out pretty well, didn’t it?

The Trade in Kyrie Irving (2017)

Celtics got: Kyrie Irving

Cavaliers got: Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Ante Zizic, 2018 first-round pick (became Collin Sexton), 2020 second-round pick (became Skylar Mays)

Are we sure someone won this trade? It’s a valid question, but Ainge certainly didn’t lose it.

The Celtics didn’t send a top prospect or star player in that deal – Thomas was great in Boston but you couldn’t win a title with him as your #1 option – and the first-round pick ended up at No. 8. Most teams don’t care right now for Irving, but in 2017 he was worth the risk.

Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz) Rudy Gobert

The Trade in Rudy Gobert (2022)

Jazz got: Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, 2023 first-round pick, 2025 first-round pick, 2026 first-round pick, 2027 first-round pick, 2029 first-round pick

Timberwolves have: Rudy Gobert

Ainge stunned the rest of the NBA when he got a huge package of picks and players in the Gobert deal. Not only did the Jazz get more than expected, it also changed markets for Mitchell and Kevin Durant.

This trade will remain under the TBD category for a number of years. Ainge can flip those players or picks in future trades and change how we look at what happened this offseason.

But there’s a good chance we’ll look back on this deal as another win for him.

Written By

Dave Gallo is a pioneering sports analytics expert, renowned for his revolutionary work in AI-driven sports simulations, projections, and advanced statistical analysis. With a profound passion for sports and technology, he crafts cutting-edge computer models that accurately predict outcomes. Dave's game-changing insights have reshaped strategy, player evaluation, and decision-making across various sports. His dynamic presentations make complex analytics accessible and inspiring, ensuring his legacy as a visionary in sports analytics. Check out Dave's Pick Record.

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