Celtics Reserve Big Man ‘A Top Trade Target’

Juancho Hernangomez, Boston Celtics

Getty Juancho Hernangomez trying to keep pace with Gary Harris in a contest between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic.

Ten games into the NBA season and teams are starting to understand their rotational hierarchy, and the Boston Celtics are no different as they’ve begun to rely on a core rotation of between eight to ten guys.

One of the Celtics players currently on the outside looking in, is Juancho Hernangomez. The European power forward has struggled for playing time since being acquired by the Celtics over the summer.

According to a recent article from Hoops Hype, Hernangomez’s name has been listed as a potential trade candidate after riding the bench to begin the season, despite being healthy.

“He (Hernangomez) could become available soon if he isn’t already, especially since the Celtics are $6.3 million above the luxury tax. Salary dumping Hernangomez would get the struggling Celtics completely under the luxury tax,” Yossi Gozlan wrote.

Since moving into a front-office role as the President of Basketball Operations, Brad Stevens has continually spoken of the need for financial flexibility, making any move geared towards getting under the luxury tax seem plausible.

How Has Hernangomez Been Playing?

We’re currently 11 games into the new season, and as things stand, Hernangomez finds himself as the Celtics fourth-string power forward, behind Al Horford, Grant Williams, and Jabari Parker.

According to Basketball-Reference, Hernangomez has participated in five of the Celtics’ eleven games thus far, totaling 14 minutes of game time in the process. With such depth at the forward positions, the Celtics have the luxury of leaving stretch-four on the end of their bench, only calling his number during garbage time.

Hernangomez is a career 35.1% shooter from three and is serviceable on the glass, averaging 3.5 rebounds per game for his career. However, with the Celtics placing a premium on defense, it would appear that Hernangomez’s limitation on defense is a sticking point for him.

Basketball Index has tracked Hernangomez’s defensive metrics across a multitude of areas and ranks him as a below-average perimeter defender for his position and an average interior defender while noting that the forward is often tasked with guarding one of the opposing teams worst players.

However, there’s always a role for a capable three-point shooting big who has a reputation for working well off-ball and creating driving lanes with their cutting ability.

“He’s a guy with his size, shooting ability, and cutting ability, that we think could accentuate some of our better players,” Stevens said during a media day press conference, “I think Juancho is an accentuator, I think he has the ability of doing that. And I think one of his under-discussed great qualities is his cutting, and with all the attention Jaylen (Brown) and Jayson (Tatum) get specifically, the right time to cut is an important quality.”

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Hernangomez Was Traded Twice During the Offseason

The former Minnesota Timberwolves big-man was traded twice during the off-season, first to the Memphis Grizzlies in a deal that saw Patrick Beverley go in the opposite direction.

Shortly after arriving in Memphis, Hernangomez was packing his bags again as the team shipped him off to Boston in a deal that landed the Grizzlies Kris Dunn and Carsen Edwards.

Now, while struggling for game time with the Celtics’, one would hope that Hernangomez traveled light, as he may be on the move again before the trade deadline as Brad Stevens looks to get the Celtics below the luxury tax.

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