Celtics 'Biggest Regret' became Trail Blazers eye-opening surprise this season

A bad deal for Boston turned into a great move for Portland.
Joe Cronin, Jody Allen; Portland Trail Blazers
Joe Cronin, Jody Allen; Portland Trail Blazers / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The 2023-24 NBA season wasn't one full of pleasantries for the Portland Trail Blazers. Veterans missed significant time, young players lost development opportunities due to injury, a (perhaps overly) hyped draft pick had an up-and-down season, and the team only won 21 games.

That doesn't mean there weren't some nice surprises for the Blazers, specifically one that stemmed from one of the two trades general manager Joe Cronin consummated with the Boston Celtics. A summer blockbuster sent Jrue Holiday to Beantown, but it was a much smaller deal that went overlooked at the time that became one of the trade deadline's most significant moves.

Dalano Banton trade deemed Celtics' biggest regret, Blazers' biggest gain

Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes wrote an end-of-season piece detailing every NBA team's biggest regret. Maybe for lack of other options (they finished with the best record in the league by seven games), the Celtics' biggest regret of the 2023-24 campaign was offloading Dalano Banton to Portland, according to Hughes:

"We'll go with a mostly ignored trade that sent deep-bench reserve Dalano Banton to the Portland Trail Blazers for a heavily protected second-round pick. The deal seemed designed to open a roster spot for a buyout acquisition, which made it more defensible. But Banton's statistical explosion in Portland is the real reason the Celtics might want that decision back."

Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report

A versatile 6-foot-9 point guard, Banton averaged 16.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists in almost 30 minutes a night during his 30 games with the Trail Blazers. Were they empty numbers on a tanking team or a product of Banton finally getting some legitimate run in the league?


It will only cost Portland $2.2 million to find out since the team holds an option on the former Raptor and Celtic. Picking up that option and bringing him back to Rip City next year seems like a no-brainer.