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Nikola Vucevic of USC.
With six returning players under contract already pushing the Celtics above the salary cap, Boston must find cost-effective rotation contributors for this year while positioning the franchise to (a) compete when the Big Three disintegrate and (b) provide the supporting cast necessary to lure Chris Paul in trade and Dwight Howard in free agency.
The only two ways to be in position to get both Paul and Howard—without dumping Paul Pierce onto an under-cap franchise—is to sign free agents to veteran minimum deals and sign drafted players at their slot wage.
Since the Celtics need to fill as many as seven roster spots this offseason, it remains doubtful that seven good veteran players would elect to perform for below-market wages in exchange for the privilege to play in Boston.
Thankfully, with seven franchises holding multiple first-round picks and with the perception that this draft is weak with a high degree of parity between prospects, there is ample opportunity to purchase a pick or trade for one. However, Ainge should not trade 2012 Clippers pick unless convinced of unique opportunity this year as it has the potential to be a lottery pick (if T-Wolves and Clippers fail to make playoffs next year).