The Boston Celtics have put together a great start to the season. Despite dropping their last game against the Chicago Bulls, they are still 13-4 on the season, which is good for first place in the Western Conference.
But as the season goes on, they will still have opportunities to improve their roster. And according to Keith Smith of Spotrac, Danilo Gallinari is a player to “keep an eye on” in trade talks this year.
“This signing wasn’t a mistake, but Gallinari’s torn ACL during EuroBasket completely changes the context,” Smith wrote. “Boston is kind of out of tradable deals, because their best contracts belong to rotation players. If the Celtics are going to upgrade their rotation, it could mean Gallinari being traded. Then, look for him to possibly opt out, and re-sign with Boston again in free agency next summer.”
Gallinari signed with Boston this offseason, but as noted by Smith, he tore his ACL while playing for the Italian national team at EuroBasket over the summer. He’s making roughly $6.5 million this year and could be the Celtics’ best tradable asset.
Putting his salary in a deal could potentially help the Celtics match salaries in an attempt to upgrade their bench.
Former Celtic Listed as Potential Target
With Gallinari’s salary available to send out in trades, Boston’s metaphorical list of potential targets expands a bit. According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, one player they could look to target is Utah Jazz and former Boston big man Kelly Olynyk.
“While Boston’s frontcourt obviously isn’t the same without Robert Williams III, even at full strength it might be one big man shy of an ideal mix for a playoff rotation.
“If the Celtics’ decision-makers agree with that assessment, perhaps they could fill that void with a familiar face,” Buckley wrote.
Utah has gotten off to a hot start this year, as they sit at 12-7 on the season, good for second place in the Western Conference. In turn, there have been some questions regarding their willingness to move assets. But if they do decide to blow things up a bit, Olynyk could be a good target for Boston.
The big man has appeared in all 19 of Utah’s games this year, playing 27.0 minutes per contest. He’s averaging 12.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game on 54.7% shooting from the field and 50.0% shooting from three-point range.
27-Year-Old Center Listed as Celtics Target
In addition to Olynyk, another big man who the Celtics could potentially target is Jakob Poeltl of the San Antonio Spurs. The only caveat is that Gallinari could not be used in a deal, as the Spurs waived him over the summer, so he cannot be traded back to San Antonio directly.
“The question is, ‘does this team need to go out and get another big man who can defend?’ The name that has come up that people have speculated has been Jakob Poeltl from the Spurs. They did a deal with the Spurs last year, obviously, for Derrick White,” Windhorst said.
And while Gallinari cannot be used in a deal with the Spurs, he is definitely a valuable asset to have for Boston.