Celtics ‘Could’ Look to Trade Veteran Forward

Joe Mazzulla, Boston Celtics

Getty Joe Mazzulla, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, with a top-ranked offense and so much depth that every team in the league is watching on with envious eyes.

It’s hard to fathom why Brad Stevens would be looking to make tweaks to the Celtics’ current roster, but if he does, it’s unlikely any of the team’s core rotation would be up for grabs. With that in mind, HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto believes that veteran forward Danilo Gallinari could find himself being used as salary filler in a trade, should the Celtics look for further reinforcements later in the season.

“Most executives around the league don’t see the Celtics making a trade with the continuity of their young core. Should Boston want to tinker with its roster and improve its rotation depth, Danilo Gallinari’s $6.48 million salary can be used as a trade filler,” Scotto wrote.

Gallinari, 34, is currently rehabbing from an ACL injury he sustained whilst playing for Italy in the FIBA EuroBasket tournament, and is unlikely to see an NBA floor this season. However, Boston will be cognizant of the negative optics trading away an injured player who recently signed with the team could potentially have on their chances of acquiring further veteran help in the years to come.

Celtics Compensated for Gallinari’s Injury

While Gallinari being ruled out for the season was a significant blow to the Celtics’ off-season preparations, it has allowed Boston so additional flexibility in the free-agent market.

According to a November 7 report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the NBA has awarded the Celtics with a Disabled Player Exception worth $3.29 million, which the Celtics could opt to use to acquire a veteran free agent for the remainder of the current season.

“Sources: The Boston Celtics have been granted a $3.29 million Disabled Player Exception by the NBA for the loss of Danilo Gallinari. March 10 deadline for the Celtics to use the DPE,” Charania Tweeted.

Still, with the Celtics performing at such a high level to begin the new basketball year, it’s questionable whether the front office believes there is an available free agent who could help improve the team’s current roster, especially one who could provide some frontcourt depth at the end of the bench.

Celtics Likely to Evaluate DPE Targets in March

According to a November 7 article by CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith, the Celtics will likely hold onto their DPE until early March, before they make a decision on whether they’re going to utilize the exception or let it expire.

“The guess here is that the DPE isn’t used anytime soon. Expect Brad Stevens and his staff to see what the roster needs and to keep the DPE around in case it could come in handy around the trade deadline. After the deadline passes, Boston will have a nice chunk of change to offer to a player who works a buyout. This is what happened with Greg Monroe back in 2018…The Celtics can use this to entice a veteran for slightly more than the minimum, assuming ownership is willing to eat that extra tax money.

That difference in salary will only grow, as veteran minimum deals do prorate, for both actual salary and cap/tax hit, by the day. Given Boston’s status as a Finals contender, that hopefully won’t be a challenge to add some more money to the payroll, should Stevens find a player he wants to acquire,” Smith wrote on November 7.

Unfortunately, it would appear Celtics fans will need to remain patient if they’re hoping to see a new face sitting on the sidelines by the time the playoffs roll around, and that’s still not guaranteed given how well Boston is performing at the moment. After all, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

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