Ex-Celtics Guard Traded At Deadline On Red-Hot Run With Trail Blazers

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The Boston Celtics weren’t mega-active once the NBA trade deadline rolled around on Feb. 8, but the team did make a few last-minute roster tweaks, which included dealing Dalano Banton to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Banton, 24, was signed to a two-year, $4.2 million contract during the offseason, given a chance to secure a reserve unit role in Boston’s new-look roster. But as the pieces fell into place and the team rapidly flourished with Payton Pritchard, Al Horford and Sam Hauser being the primary bench pieces, Banton was left on no man’s land. There was no room for the 6-foot-9 veteran, leaving Banton to play 7.1 minutes through 24 games before moving on from Boston.

At the time, Banton wasn’t discouraged by the change in scenery.

“I wasn’t bummed, man,” Banton told reporters in March, per CLNS Media. “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.”

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Banton only shot 37.3% from the field and 12.5% from three, although chances to play were limited, there wasn’t room to utilize the 2021 second-rounder. The most shine Banton garnered with the Celtics came with the team’s G-League affiliate in Maine, where he averaged 29.5 points on 43.5% shooting with 5.5 rebounds and four assists in two appearances.

Yet, that still didn’t prove Banton could play at a high level when facing NBA competition. That remained the case until Banton suited up in Portland, making the trade massively beneficial for the NBA journeyman.

Banton’s played only 24 games with the Trail Blazers, but in that span, he’s erupted to average career-highs in points (16), rebounds (4.8) and assists (3.1). Portland’s started Banton in seven games, recently allowing him to score a career-best 31 points on 56.5% shooting against the Atlanta Hawks.

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None of this was possible in Boston.

“I’m happy for him,” Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said, per Sean Highkin of the Rose Garden Report. “He was patient here. Seeing him on film, he’s doing a lot of the things we thought he was capable of here if he’d gotten the opportunity. He’s playing free.”

Banton could work toward bidding for a more secure role in Portland next season if the elite scoring production is maintained until the Trail Blazers transition into the offseason.

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