Celtics Trading 24-Year-Old Breakout Guard Called ‘Biggest Regret’ by NBA Writer

Brad Stevens

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Pretty much everything went exactly as planned for the Boston Celtics. However, for everything that went right for them during the 2023-24 season, they may have taken back some of their moves in hindsight.

One might be trading Dalano Banton to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes explained why he sees the Celtics trading Banton as their “biggest regret.”

“The deal seemed designed to open a roster spot for a buyout acquisition, which made it more defensible. But Banton’s statistical explosion in Portland is the real reason the Celtics might want that decision back,” Hughes wrote in an April 16 story.

Hughes then explained how Banton’s breakout showed that he could have been useful for Boston in the postseason.

“Essentially a 6’9″ point guard who can defend multiple positions, Banton averaged 16.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 29.2 minutes per game with the Blazers. Every second he logged in Portland came in zero-stakes games, and Banton didn’t exactly show out prior to the deadline with the Celtics. But his impact after the trade suggests he might have had something to offer in the event Boston lost a key wing or guard to injury during the playoffs.”

There hadn’t been any signs that Banton would play as well as he did when Portland gave him an opportunity. Banton has a team option for the 2024-25 season.

Joe Mazzulla Praises Dalano Banton’s Progress

Before the Celtics played against the Trail Blazers on April 7, Mazzulla praised Banton’s play in Portland.

Mazzulla also explained why it was better for him with the Trail Blazers than it was for the Celtics.

“He did a great job, but the thing about the NBA is the situation and the opportunity that you get,” Mazzulla said, per Celtics on CLNS’ X account. “He played his role and took advantage of the opportunities he got for us here, but he’s getting much more of an opportunity there, and he’s taking advantage of that. Just a credit to his work ethic, and I’m happy for him.”

When he arrived in Portland, Banton’s minutes more than quadrupled. He went from 7.1 minutes a game with the Celtics to 29.2 with the Trail Blazers. He averaged 16.7 points with his increased role on the Trail Blazers, which is by far a career-high for him.

Dalano Banton Reflects on Time With Celtics

Banton played 24 games in total for the Celtics before they traded him. Despite the trade, Banton made it clear that he held nothing against the Celtics.

“I wasn’t bummed, man,” Banton told reporters per CLNS Media’s YouTube Channel. “It’s the NBA, it’s the business side of things, and you just gotta be able to push through everything that comes your way. We know how it is as players. So it’s never something to be bummed about. … It was a great opportunity, a great organization. Wish them the best.”

On a contending team like the Celtics, a young player like Banton likely would not have gotten the opportunity he did with the Trail Blazers. The Celtics already had players they were familiar with, along with new additions like Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday.