Almost nobody thought the Boston Celtics would be able to make the NBA Finals, yet alone the playoffs, given how they looked halfway through the 2021-22 season. The only people that believed they had a chance were those inside the Celtics’ locker room.
Coming within two wins of a championship this past year, the Celtics entered the offseason with the mindset of adding depth, specifically on the offensive-end of the floor.
Not only did the team re-sign sharpshooter Sam Hauser to provide some depth out on the wing next year, but they made a big trade with the Indiana Pacers to acquire former Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon.
Having 11 players under contract for the 2022-23 season now, the Boston Celtics still have three roster spots to fill out and they have a big decision to make in regards to a trade exception that will be expiring this week.
When the Celtics executed an Evan Fournier sign-and-trade with the New York Knicks last offseason, they created a $17,142,857 traded player exception for themselves, allowing them to absorb a contract up to this amount in any trade.
This TPE though does not last forever and it is set to expire on Monday, July 18 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET. What this means is that the Celtics could put together a trade on either Sunday or Monday and wind up utilizing this exception, but cannot use it on Tuesday or beyond.
While Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens has stated that the front-office has “no limitations” for using this exception and adding payroll this offseason, it seems unlikely as of right now that Boston will be utilizing this TPE.
Going out and trading for Brogdon was their big move of the offseason and now, they are left a little thin on assets to trade away to bring in another high-impact player.
Boston does not have a first-round draft pick they can deal until 2025 and it is extremely unlikely that Marcus Smart, Al Horford and Derrick White will be dealt at this point in the offseason.
It is possible that Payton Pritchard, Grant Williams or a couple of second-round picks could be dealt in order for the Celtics to utilize this trade exception, yet many around the league are anticipating them letting it expire.
Should the Boston Celtics look to make another big move this offseason before Tuesday though, some names they could consider from the trade block include:
- Jordan Clarkson (Utah Jazz)
- Kelly Olynyk (Detroit Pistons)
- Doug McDermott (San Antonio Spurs)
- Rudy Gay (Utah Jazz)
- Justise Winslow (Portland Trail Blazers)
There are plenty of other players the Celtics could look to pursue, but the names listed above are the most realistic trade options over the next couple of days given the assets Boston has.
Jordan Clarkson and Kelly Olynyk are the two key names that stick out here, as both players could have a positive impact on the Celtics’ roster.
The 2020-21 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Clarkson is definitely available in trade talks right now with the Utah Jazz looking like they are heading towards a rebuild. However, he will most likely hang around in Utah for the time being and end up a heavily sought after trade deadline target league-wide.
As for Olynyk, he spent the first four years of his career in Boston and outside of Robert Williams III and AL Horford, the Celtics do not have much frontcourt depth. Having Isaiah Stewart and now rookie Jalen Duren in their frontcourt, the Detroit Pistons could be willing to unload Kelly Olynyk’s salary for draft compensation.
It would definitely not be crazy to see Brad Stevens and the Celtics front-office put together a last-minute trade of a draft pick for a player using this trade exception, but as right now, it appears that Boston is alright with the idea of letting this TPE expire.