This wouldn’t be the first time the Boston Celtics have been linked to Memphis Grizzlies wing Kyle Anderson — and by the sound of it, it won’t be the last. From trade deadline speculation to recent reports that the C’s have had their eye on the 27-year-old forward for “quite some time,” envisioning a marriage between the two parties has become all too easy, if not likely.
With $11 million remaining from the Gordon Hayward traded player exception, Anderson’s $9.9 million expiring contract certainly fits the bill of a realistic trade target this offseason — something that Mass Live’s Brian Robb has attested to. While more farfetched candidates such as Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal will garner the majority of the attention in trade talks this summer, it’s Anderson who Robb believes is the “most realistic trade option” for the Celtics to pursue this offseason.
“If cap flexibility is a priority, finding guys on expiring contracts is the main path the team should be pursuing if they want to upgrade next year’s roster while also maintaining the option to target big names in free agency in 2022,” Robb wrote in his recent Boston Celtics Mailbag column. “The quality of names in that ilk is not very promising but there are a few guys that stand out from the pack for their fits as role players with Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson probably topping the list.”
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Anderson’s Game Took Major Leaps Foward in 2020-21
Over his first six NBA seasons, Anderson garnered a reputation as a versatile role player who possessed plus traits as a distributor and defender. However, his shot-making ability — or rather lack thereof — has always held the UCLA product back. In year seven, that changed for Anderson.
In 69 games, he averaged a career-high in points (12.4), while shooting 36.0% from 3-point range — Anderson’s best mark since 2016. The New York native also chipped in with 5.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists for good measure, both of which rank within the top-two outputs of his career.
While Anderson remains relatively unhyped playing in a smaller market and in the shadows of second-year phenom Ja Morant, his growth in 2020-21 didn’t go completely unnoticed. Anderson received two third-place votes for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award this season, which was ultimately given to New York Knicks forward Julius Randle.
Cedric Maxwell Shares Thoughts on Ime Udoka
If Anderson does find his way to Beantown this offseason, the move won’t be all too foreign for the veteran. During his San Antonio days, the former Spurs draft pick spent four seasons playing under then-assistant Ime Udoka. Now at the helm of the Celtics, Udoka is already turning the heads of some of the franchise’s all-time greats.
“There’s a sense of urgency,” Cedric Maxwell said on NBC Sports Boston’s Early Edition. “I believe that this team right now fundamentally is different. Ime comes in as a different personality (from Brad Stevens). I think he’s logical, he loves the game in a different way, but what I loved about what he said, was ‘Guys expect me to get on their ass.’ That’s what I really want to see, that he’s going to challenge them on the court and off the court. I think that’s gonna be a good thing for the Celtics.”