Celtics, Pistons Swap Joel Anthony, Will Bynum

The Celtics have officially sent Joel Anthony to the Pistons for Will Bynum, the teams announced in separate press releases. Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com originally reported the deal (Twitter link). It’s a money-saving arrangement for Boston, as Forsberg points out (on Twitter), since Bynum’s salary of slightly more than $2.9MM is less than Anthony’s $3.8MM take. Both are in the final seasons of their respective contracts. Detroit and Boston have 16 fully guaranteed contracts apiece, so they make odd trade partners as the October 27th deadline for teams to pare down to 15 players looms, and the salaries for Anthony and Bynum are both fully guaranteed.

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The swap helps the Celtics forge some breathing room beneath the $76.829MM tax threshold, as Forsberg alludes to in his full story, since the guaranteed money they have on the books leaves them only about $1.2MM shy of that line. Substituting Bynum for Anthony gives Boston about $2MM in flexibility beneath that threshold. The Pistons are under the cap and are in no danger of paying the tax, but their motivation is less clear. It’s conceivable that the acquisition of Anthony is related to other moves the team is seeking, since Detroit is reportedly interested in trading for Wolves small forward Chase Budinger. Sending Bynum away leaves the Pistons with just two point guards in Brandon Jennings and D.J. Augustin unless they intend to keep Lorenzo Brown‘s non-guaranteed deal.

The 31-year-old Bynum averaged 18.8 minutes per game across 56 appearances last season, but he didn’t figure to receive that much playing time again this season after the Pistons added Augustin in the offseason. Still, the veteran who’s spent the past six seasons in Detroit expressed pleasure with Stan Van Gundy last month, so it doesn’t appear that he’s pushed his way out of the Motor City. Bynum doesn’t figure to find many minutes to go around in Boston, either, with Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart and Phil Pressey at his position, though he’d probably be in line for significant playing time if the Celtics trade Rondo without bringing in another point guard in return.

Anthony unsurprisingly exercised his player option this past summer to stay under contract after a season in which he played fewer than 200 total minutes. Anthony was an important defender off the bench for the Heat when Miami signed him to his five-year, $18.25MM deal in 2010, and he started the majority of the regular season for the Heat’s 2011/12 championship team, but his role shrank as Miami moved to a small-ball attack. The Heat sought to rid themselves of his salary when they sent him to Boston in a January trade, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens largely kept Anthony planted to the bench. The 32-year-old will be no better than third on the center depth chart behind Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe in Detroit, but he will at least provide some insurance with Aaron Gray out indefinitely with heart trouble.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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