NBA Free Agency 2012: Did the Celtics Make a Mistake Trading JaJuan Johnson?

Nikhil BaradwajSenior Analyst IJuly 20, 2012

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 20:  JaJuan Johnson #12 of the Boston Celtics takes a shot against Yi Jianlian #9 of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on February 20, 2012 in Dallas, Texas.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Well, the Celtics got their guy.

Boston inked a sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets, where they traded essentially spare parts for Courtney Lee (via Boston Herald).

Those "spare parts" were Sasha Pavlovic, Sean Williams, E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and a second-round pick (via Boston Herald).

As you might remember, Johnson was the Celtics' first-round pick in 2011 and had a lot of potential in this league. The Celtics even traded the rights to MarShon Brooks for him.

Johnson had flashes of brilliance where he looked almost Kevin Garnett-like. He only played 8.2 minutes per game, but it seemed like he was adjusting to the NBA game as the season continued.

With Kevin Garnett as his mentor, the former Purdue forward could learn from a player who really resembles him.

Is trading such a talented player in the future worth Lee, a player who is likely going to start only until Avery Bradley is healthy?

I'm not sure about that. Boston should have instead focused their efforts on re-signing Mickael Pietrus and playing him at the 2, while Bradley rehabilitates.

This would allow Boston to keep Johnson, while also having an able starter for the time being.

Don't get me wrong, Lee might end up being better than advertised. However, Johnson could too.

While many are singing the praises of General Manager Danny Ainge, they fail to realize that Boston traded their first-round pick from last season.

Johnson has the ability to be at least a solid role player, not in four years, but now. He can blossom into a starter as Garnett continues to mentor him.

Lee on the other hand, will be what he is now: a fringe starter who will be a third-string player after Bradley returns from shoulder surgery.

Think about that. A third-string player for a potential starter? Would you consider making this kind of deal?

In my eyes, this trade was far more even than one might think.