Buyout Market: Celtics Dubbed an ‘Obvious’ Landing Spot for Stretch Big

Celtics favorites to land Kelly Olynyk

Getty Kelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat defends Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics during the second half at TD Garden.

Danny Ainge pulled off two trades at Thursday’s deadline. Yet, there’s still work to be done as the President of Basketball Operations looks to reshape the Boston Celtics into title contenders on the fly.

Two-time All-Star Andre Drummond has already been floated as a buyout candidate to help ease the vacancy left behind by Daniel Theis, who the C’s shipped off to Chicago. However, there may be a more ideal fit on the buyout market, one that better mimics Theis’ skillset, can add a scoring punch to Boston’s lineup and just so happens to have a preexisting relationship with the organization.

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Kelly Olynyk & the Celtics Destined for a Reunion?

The Athletic’s John Hollinger certainly appears to deem the possibility more than likely. Olynyk was dealt from the Miami Heat to the Houston Rockets on Thursday. In a matter of moments, the versatile big went from playing a pivotal role on a team less than one year removed from an NBA Finals appearance to joining a team whose 12-31 record is tied for second-worst in all of basketball.

At 29 years old, Olynyk doesn’t appear to fit in Houston’s rebuilding plans, which is why Hollinger believes the eight-year pro is one of the biggest names to watch on the buyout front over the next few days.

“Surely the Rockets have no need for him as they take aim on tankapalaooza, especially since he has an expiring deal but is unlikely to command attention in the sign-and-trade market,” Hollinger wrote. “But Olynyk is a legitimately useful player who played a major role on an NBA Finals team a year ago, and his pick-and-pop game and proclivity for drawing charges make him a plus big off the bench for teams needing more offensive punch.”

As for where Olynyk’s “offensive punch” may be most greatly utilized, Hollinger thinks it’s quite obvious.

“One Captain Obvious place to watch is Boston, where Olynyk began his career, and where starting center Daniel Theis was just traded to the Bulls,” he proclaimed.

What Olynyk Could Bring to the Celtics’ Lineup

Drafted by the Dallas Mavericks out of Gonzaga back in 2013, Olynyk was immediately traded to the Celtics on Draft night, where he went on to play out the first four seasons of his NBA career.

While Olynyk never struck claim to a true starting gig — only starting 38 of his 278 career games from 2013-17 — he did carve out a crucial role during his stint in Beantown, averaging at least 20.0 minutes per game in every season. Over the entirety of his Celtics tenure, Olynyk averaged 9.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, all while shooting 36.8% from 3-point range.

Over the past three and a half years, Olynyk has produced in a similar fashion with the Heat. The 6-foot-11-inch shot a career-best 40.6% from beyond the arc during Miami’s run to the Finals in 2019-20.

His ability to stretch the court would be a welcomed addition to any lineup. This is especially true for Boston, who due to the loss of Theis, is now set to rely on Tristan Thompson and Robert Williams as their primary bigs — each of whom offers no real threat as a shooter. Since 2018, Theis had shot 35.6% from 3-point range with the Celtics.


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