Most of the Boston Celtics’ roster will be under contract next season. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Robert Williams, Derrick White, Grant Williams, and Daniel Theis will all be under team control. While this means the team will have a chance to run it back, it also limits their flexibility in regard to roster additions.
They will have the ability to sign a player using their mid-level exception, but outside of that, the best pathway to adding rotational pieces will be through the draft. Boston doesn’t own a pick, and likely won’t be able to trade into the first round. However, sources have suggested that they could use one of their current youngsters to jump up into the second.
According to an anonymous GM who spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, the Celtics could use Aaron Nesmith as a chip to trade into the 2022 NBA Draft.
“They gave away their pick last year, they don’t have a pick this year and they’re looking at the luxury tax, so, yeah, they’d like to have a chance to get back into the draft if they can, get guys contributing on rookie contracts,” the GM revealed. “But the only chip they have for that is (Aaron) Nesmith and he is not going to get you a first-rounder at this point. So, they’ll look at prospects but realistically they’re going to look at second-rounders. They could try to buy a pick there but there’s no real path into the first round for them.”
The Celtics took Nesmith with the 14th-overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, but he hasn’t panned out just yet.
Nesmith’s Second-Year Struggles
The second-year swingman struggled to earn consistent minutes under Ime Udoka this past year. He played in just 52 games, averaging 11.0 minutes per contest. In that time, he put up 3.8 points and 1.7 rebounds per game on 39.6% shooting from the field and 27.0% shooting from three-point range.
Despite this, Nesmith earned some important minutes in the playoffs for Boston in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. In 11:12 of action, he had a steal and three blocks but failed to score any points, going 0-for-3 from deep.
Nesmith told Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe that “I’ve just got to shoot the ball better than I did this season.” After shooting the three-ball at a 37.0% clip last year, his major drop-off was shocking.
Due to his ineffective season, Boston using him as potential trade bait shouldn’t come as a major surprise. In fact, they’ve been working out some potential second-round prospects over the past few weeks.
Celtics Have Worked Out Multiple Prospects
According to Keith Smith of CelticsBlog and Spotrac, the Celtics have been busy working out potential second-round picks. This list includes Teddy Allen of New Mexico State, Julian Champagnie of St. John’s, Peter Kiss of Bryant, and Lucas Williamson of Loyola.
Boston already has a second-rounder in this year’s draft (53rd overall) but could use Nesmith to get another. If they play their cards right, Boston could add some new prospects this summer.