Celtics Miss Out on Top Free Agent Target to East Rival: Report

TJ Warren, Boston Celtics

Getty TJ Warren, Boston Celtics

Heading into the off-season, the Boston Celtics were widley expected to target TJ Warren in free agency, as they looked to add a scoring punch to their bench unit.

However, after securing both Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari on July 1, Brad Stevens and the front office seemingly took their foot off the gas, as they began to take stock of the current roster. Perhaps Boston is done with their off-season moves, or maybe they’re looking for the right deal with their $17.2 million trade exception.

Whatever the reason, they will need to scratch TJ Warren’s name off of their free-agent big board, as according to ESPN’S Adrian Wojnarowski, the wing has signed a one-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets.

“After missing most of the past two seasons with a stress fracture in his left foot, free-agent forward T.J. Warren has agreed to a one-year contract with the Brooklyn Nets, sources told ESPN on Tuesday. Warren played four games in 2020-21, and missed the entirety of the 2021 season with consecutive fractures, but he is recovering now and the Nets are hopeful that he can play a role at both forward positions,” Wojnarowski wrote on July 5.

Warren’s Injury History Was a Concern

Over the last two seasons, Warren has played exactly four games, as he has dealt with multiple foot fractures. As such, the market for the free-scoring wing has been slim, as most teams seem unwilling to part with some, or all, of their mid-level exception to add him to their rotation.

For Warren, landing in a spot where there will be guaranteed minutes next season was essential, as he looks to put a tumultuous two years behind him, and begin rebuilding his value around the league – a one-year deal does that.

From the Nets’ perspective, Warren is a low-risk, high-reward addition for a team that is reeling from all of the drama surrounding both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. As such, adding a potential 20 points per night scorer, that can impact the game on both sides of the floor, makes perfect sense for them.

Boston is Probably Done Making Moves

When you look at the level of skill the Celtics have added to their roster in Brogdon and Gallinari, it’s clear that neither player came at a low cost. In fact, Gallinari signed for the full taxpayer mid-level exception, and Brogdon earns $22.5 million per season.

While most Celtics fans have been vocal about the team’s owners paying the luxury tax, there is likely a limit regarding how deep into the tax they want to go. Boston essentially added close to $20 million in salary when you deduct Daniel Theis and Aaron Nesmith’s contracts, meaning they’re well over the luxury threshold heading into next season.

As such, it’s unlikely that we see Boston utilize their full $17.2 million trade exception before it expires on July 18. Sure, there’s a chance they use part of the exception or slide into trade negotiations as a third team looking to facilitate a deal. But overall, Brogdon and Gallinari are probably the two main acquisitions of the summer, and considering how talented both of them are, it’s fair to say the Celtics conducted some good business.


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