However, given Poeltl’s contract status (he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer) and the likely cost of attaining him via trade, it remains unlikely that we see the impressive center in Boston this season. Luckily, ESPN’S Bobby Marks believes there is a cheaper alternative on the market in Willy Hernangomez.
Marks’ believes that the six-foot-eleven big man could be available for as little as two second-round picks, which would ensure the Celtics keep hold of some future first-rounders to help add youth to their bench unit as it begins to age. Furthermore, Hernangomez is also under contract for another season, thus giving Boston some additional control over the big man beyond the current season and helping cement the center rotation until the summer of 2024.
In 22 games this season, Hernangomez is averaging 6.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game while shooting 52.1% from the field in 11.8 minutes of playing time per contest.
Celtics Could Wait Until The Buy-Out Market
According to sources who spoke with CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith, there is a belief around the league that Boston may choose to stand pat around the trade deadline in the hope of being legitimate players in the buy-out market, where their $3.3 million disabled player exception can be used as a genuine weapon.
“Various sources told CelticsBlog that they expect Boston to be a top destination on the buyout market. One source said, “They don’t need to make a trade. Why bother? They don’t need anything. Brad (Stevens) already gave Joe (everything he needs). And that Gallo (Danilo Gallinari) exception (Disabled Player Exception) will allow them to outspend everyone else for a buyout guy. They can let the deadline pass and then just pick off the best free agent or two for playoff depth. And vets will all want the Celtics because they can get paid and they can win,” Smith wrote.
Regardless of whether the Celtics make a move to acquire a player via trade or pickup a veteran on the buyout market, Boston’s fans will be hoping Brad Stevens can improve their wing depth as we head into the second half of the NBA season.
Celtics Warned Of Trading Future Draft Assets
In a recent article by Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale, the analyst warns of the potential risk in trading away more future first-round picks, pointing toward Jaylen Brown’s impending free agency as a significant reason why Stevens should be judicial in any upcoming deals.
“Boston has the capacity to dangle first-rounders in 2025, 2027 and 2029. The latter is too far away to spotlight…Rival teams should be most interested in the 2025 selection. It conveys relatively soon yet post-dates Brown’s entry in 2024 free agency. The current extension rules make it prohibitive for him to sign one, so he will hit the open market. This isn’t to imply Brown is a flight risk, but he could be,” Favale wrote.
The Celtics currently sit 1st in the Eastern Conference and will face off against the Golden State Warriors on January 19, where they will be looking to get their first victory over the current NBA champions since their game three win on June 8, 2022.