The Boston Celtics’ G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, announced on Thursday that they had acquired former 2013 NBA Draft number one overall selection, forward Anthony Bennett, from the Northern Arizona Suns.
Maine will also receive Northern Arizona’s original 3rd round 2018 NBA G League Draft pick and will send back the returning player rights to Wesley Saunders and Maine’s original 2nd round 2018 NBA G League Draft selection in return.
In 14 games with the Suns this season, Bennett is averaging 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game on 54.8 percent shooting from the field.
Bennett is known infamously around the NBA as one of the Association’s all-time worst draft busts.
After he was selected with the top choice by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013, the former UNLV stand-out produced just 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 35.6 percent from the field and 24.5 percent from three-point range over just 52 contests.
Bennett’s career was given an opportunity to revive itself the following year when he was traded to a young Minnesota Timberwolves squad.
The deal, which was highlighted by Kevin Love moving to Cleveland and Andrew Wiggins being sent to the Wolves, came with a chance for Bennett to carve out a role for himself on the then rightfully nicknamed “TimberPups” team.
Bennett would achieve career highs averages in almost every statical category during his lone campaign in Minnesota.
He shot much better, canning 42.1 percent of his field goal attempts and upped his three-point clip to a 30.4 percent mark. However, 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game were still disappointing results sophomore statistics for a once number one overall pick.
Minnesota would ultimately reach a buyout agreement with Bennett on his contract, making him a free agent. He would then spend the following two seasons in the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets organizations, playing one year a piece for both clubs.
During his tenure with Toronto, Bennett became the first number one pick to be sent to the NBA G-League.
Through his NBA career to date, the 24-year-old averaged 4.4 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game, and shot 39.2 percent in 151 games over four seasons.
Now with the Red Claws, Bennett is unlikely to show enough potential to warrant a call-up to Boston, a team that sits atop the Eastern Conference standings. Although the Celtics do have an open roster spot, it will likely remain vacant until general manager Danny Ainge decides to utilize the team’s $8.4 million salary cap exception from the Gordon Hayward injury. Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens did have a few words to say on the matter to MassLive’s Jay King.
“I think the biggest thing is that it’s a great opportunity for the player, first and foremost,” Stevens told King Thursday night. “We all know that the G-League is being evaluated every day by every team’s scouts. So regardless for your organization or for the other 29, it’s a good thing for the player. Then, for us, it’s great because it gives us a chance to coach guys and be around guys and learn about guys that you don’t know as much about until you’re really around them and coaching them. (Red Claws head coach) Brandon Bailey — we look at Brandon and Alex (Barlow) and their staff as part of our staff. We’re in constant contact with those guys, they do what we do, it’s a real benefit I think.”
Bennett ever donning a Celtics’ uniform, for now, seems like a long-shot, but if he starts to show NBA level play in Maine, Boston will be notified.