The NBA trade deadline is finally upon us, and the buzz around the Boston Celtics has gotten louder and louder in recent days. Ownership has reportedly given the front office clearance to make a move in order to help the defending Eastern Conference champions make another run at a coveted 18th banner.
President of basketball operations Brad Stevens may have limited assets at his disposal. And the specifics around some of the finances can be a bit tricky, however. But that doesn’t mean Stevens is without any avenues for improving his club.
Let’s round up the latest Celtics trade rumors and buzz that’s been reported so far. Nothing is imminent or guaranteed, but these are some of the names and stories to follow before the deadline this Thursday afternoon at 3pm Eastern Standard Time.
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Guard Payton Pritchard has openly suggested he is hungry for a bigger role, and not necessarily in Boston. This week he said as such to the Boston Globe.
“People know I want to play, especially while I’m young still,” Pritchard said. “So that’s my biggest thing, being somewhere I can play, where they believe in me.”
Pritchard also offered he isn’t necessarily unhappy in Boston. “But at the end of the day, I’m here and we have a great team, best in the NBA. I’m very fortunate to be part of that.”
Pritchard is making $2.2 million this season, with a $4.0 million team option next season. Given his postseason experience and tenacity, he is one of Boston’s more attractive trade assets. If the Celtics want to make a move, he’s an obvious place to start.
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According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports, Boston has been considering pairing Pritchard with injured forward Danilo Gallinari as a possible trade package. This would give the Celtics a little more in the way of outgoing salary. Combined, the pair makes just south of $9 million, which would allow Boston to take back about $11 million in salary.
Pritchard may be an attractive asset for the Celtics, but his small salary makes moving the former Oregon Duck tricky. By folding Danilo Gallinari into the mix, Boston’s potential for a more substantial trade increases. Gallinari is rehabbing from an ACL injury suffered over the summer, and although he may be back in time for the postseason, it’s not guaranteed he’ll be back in time.
With Pritchard and Gallinari, Boston’s chance at reeling in a postseason contributor grows. Intriguing players like Detroit Pistons center Nerlens Noel become financially feasible with such a package. (San Antonio’s Jakob Poeltl was traded to the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night.)
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The Celtics have a few exceptions to work with that could help the team out at the deadline. The crown jewel here is a $5.89 million traded player exception generated when Dennis Schroder was traded to Houston last year.
As such, Boston can absorb a salary worth up to that value in a possible deal. Because the Celtics do own a few extra second-round picks from previous trades, the team could in theory bring in a player without sending out consequential rotation pieces.
Boston also has a $3.2 million disabled player exception, awarded to the team following the Danilo Gallinari’s injury. Likewise, the team has several smaller TPEs to use.
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The latest reporting from multiple sources is that the Celtics are indeed fielding calls regarding a possible trade for forward Grant Williams. But that doesn’t mean a deal is forthcoming or even likely.
Williams remains one of the team’s top role players and a key individual defender. His strong outing Wednesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers is a reminder of what Williams brings to the team. Williams scored 15 points to go with 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
Although Boston and Williams did not come to terms on a contract extension this summer, the two sides are confident a deal can get done this summer. As such, unless the Celtics receive a big offer, it seems unlikely Williams will be traded.
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There won’t be fireworks at the deadline for Boston. The Celtics ostensibly already made their big moves in trading for Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon. Now, the team is simply tinkering around the margins.
The club is likely to pursue some sort of trade, if only to slightly relax its luxury tax bill. It also appears Boston is willing to make some sort of meaningful upgrade. That could mean another shooter, a wing player, or additional help in the front court. The Celtics aren’t, however, under any pressure to try and truly reshuffle the deck.
Stick with CelticsWire throughout the day and beyond for additional coverage as news breaks and possible trades come through.
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Source : USA Today