Overshadowed a bit by the Boston Celtics' last-minute acquisition of Isaiah Thomas was the other buzzer-beater the team connected on at Thursday's trade deadline that sent Tayshaun Prince to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Jonas Jerebko and Luigi Datome.
Here's what you need to know about the deal: The Celtics and Prince were expected to revisit the possibility of a buyout if the deadline passed without the veteran being moved and, essentially, Boston would have been looking at eating some (or all) of Prince's $7.7 million to watch a contender like the Los Angeles Clippers (whose pick the Celtics own this season) swoop him up off the scrap heap.
Instead, Boston moved Prince to a familiar location in exchange for three things: A free look at 27-year-old big man Jerebko, potential savings (the pair is earning $6.25 million combined) and a $7.7 million trade exception that was generated by absorbing the Pistons castoffs into older exceptions.
The guess here is that Boston absorbed Jerebko into the Brandan Wright $5 million exception and Datome into Austin Rivers' $2.4 million exception, which allows Boston to create a new exception for Prince's contract value.
Whether that exception will be used before Boston goes into renouncement-mode this summer to clear cap space remains to be seen. But as the Celtics have demonstrated by turning Paul Pierce's $10.3 million trade exception into Tyler Zeller and Thomas, those trade exceptions can come in mighty handy in roster construction.
Even with its recent moves, Boston likely still has a hefty $12.9 million trade exception from dealing Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks in December. That could come in handy on draft night if Boston were to pursue more deals before the league's calendar year ends. And Boston's salary savings from all their moves would allow them to take on a bulky contract without going into the luxury tax in the process.
The 6-foot-10 Jerebko, who has averaged 7.2 points and 4.3 rebounds over five NBA seasons, should get a chance to play in Boston, especially with Jared Sullinger out indefinitely. Datome's future is a bit cloudier and he would seemingly be a low-cost buyout option whose roster spot could be more valuable for something as simple as auditioning 10-day contract players (or signing a low-cost body to take a closer look at over the summer).