Celtics Linked to $37 Million Big Man as Potential Trade Target

Kelly Olynyk of the Utah Jazz, who was linked to the Boston Celtics.

Getty Kelly Olynyk of the Utah Jazz, who was linked to the Boston Celtics.

Things have been going swimmingly for the Boston Celtics. While they lost their most recent game against the Chicago Bulls, they still sit at 13-4, which is good for first place in the Western Conference standings.

That being said, there could still be room to improve for the defending East champions. Adding more help at the deadline could inch them closer to another NBA Finals appearance. One potential trade target could be Utah Jazz center Kelly Olynyk, as suggested by Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report.

“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.

Olynyk has played well for the Jazz this year, as they have jumped out to an impressive 12-7 start to the season. The former Celtic has appeared in all 19 games for Utah this far, playing 27.1 minutes per contest. He is 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 distance.

Bringing him back into the fold in Boston would give the Celtics an extra center option behind Al Horford and Williams, both of whom could miss time. Williams will be coming back from surgery soon, while Horford will likely continue to rest on the second night of back-to-backs.


Jazz Might Not Hit Reset

The one potential flaw in this sort of deal would be if the Jazz decide to keep winning. Heading into the season, they were expected to be a part of the tank race, but instead, a hot start see them switch directions.

Buckley explained this, stating that, if Olynyk were to cool off a bit and the Jazz start losing, it could expedite their potential decision to blow things up a bit.

“Kelly Olynyk, who played his first four NBA seasons in Boston, could be obtainable if (when?) the Jazz cool off and remember they actually kickstarted a top-to-bottom rebuild this offseason,” Buckley wrote. “A return to norm for Olynyk himself might speed up that process, as the 31-year-old currently sports career-high (and almost assuredly unsustainable) shooting rates from the field (53.1) and from three (47.3).”

In addition, Buckley noted Olynyk’s flaws on the defensive end as a potential problem for the Celtics but also stated how great his offensive game would fit in.

“He doesn’t have much to offer defensively, but on the opposite end, he’s a steady source of shot-making, slick-passing and sound decision-making,” Buckley said.


Potential Olynyk-Celtics Trade

The idea of Olynyk back in a Celtics uniform may be enticing, but it wouldn’t be an easy deal to pull off. Boston doesn’t have many tradable salaries unless they wanted to deal a rotation player, which seems unlikely given their success.

In order to match Olynyk’s salary ($12.8 million) in a trade, the Celtics would have to send out Danilo Gallinari, Payton Pritchard, and two minimum-contract players.

That would present a whole new set of issues. Boston likes having Pritchard as depth off the bench, especially considering their guards have already missed time this year. Plus, trading Gallinari after he signed with the team and subsequently tore his ACL could be a bad look.

Regardless, Olynyk would provide the Celtics with some quality big man depth. The question is, would they be willing to give up the pieces necessary to get a deal done?

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