Celtics Could Add Magic 3-and-D Wing via Buyout Market, Says Former Exec

Gary Harris named a potential buyout target for Celtics

Getty Orlando Magic wing Gary Harris.

The Boston Celtics wheeled and dealt their way through the trade deadline on February 10. Striking three trades, acquiring three players and bidding farewell to seven others, the Cs drastically shook up a roster that looked to be turning the corner.

Now, with five vacant roster spots to play with, Brad Stevens could be on the prowl to add some more firepower via the buyout market to further help bolster a team that has ripped off six consecutive victories.

Celtics Linked as Potential Buyout Destination for Magic Veteran

On February 8 Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that veteran guard Gary Harris had been “painted as a potential buyout candidate” were the Orlando Magic unable to move him in a trade. Approximately 24 hours post-deadline, Harris remains a member of the Magic. Yet for how long is up for debate. According to John Hollinger of The Athletic, Harris is among one of the most “desirable” players potentially on the buyout market and a “very tempting” addition for the Celtics.

“Gary Harris has an expiring $20.4 million deal and has played relatively solid basketball for an Orlando team that is going nowhere. His 3-and-D playing style also makes him an easy add into any system,” wrote Hollinger, a former NBA exec. “Keeping him in Orlando the rest of the year is likely antithetical to the franchise’s overarching goals (getting a high lottery pick by ‘taking a look at’ Ignas Brazdeikis/Admiral Schofield/R.J. Hampton lineups); one presumes a reunion in Denver in particular would likely be appealing for both sides. Harris could also be a very tempting pick-up for Boston, which has five open roster spots after a series of deadline-day moves.”

Harris No Guarantee to Be Bought Out

As Celtics Blog’s Keith Smith highlighted, while Harris may check all the boxes of your typical run-of-the-mill buyout candidate, Orlando may have no true desire to part ways with the Michigan State product.

“It’s unclear if the Orlando Magic will buy out Gary Harris or not, per sources,” Smith tweeted on February 11. “Harris is a natural buyout candidate, due to his expiring deal, but Orlando likes what he’s given them. He’s helped a young backcourt, and the Magic are dealing with guard injuries now, as well.”

Harris, who originally found his way to Central Florida at last year’s deadline as part of the deal that shipped Aaron Gordon to Denver, has started 49 of his 68 games in a Magic uniform. This season, he’s averaged 11.7 points over 29.5 minutes per game (his second-highest mark since 2018). Harris is currently connecting on 38.8% of his threes and is a 36.2% 3-point shooter over his eight-year career.

If Harris is ultimately let loose, the next question becomes how Boston views Harris and his capabilities of furthering their chances of making a playoff push this year. If they believe he can greatly help in that facet, chances are Stevens and company will do their best to lure the guard to Beantown.

“The most important thing is that this is not just about the next three months,” Stevens said of the Celtics’ acquisitions at the deadline, via ESPN. “This is about, again, adding guys that you think and can see playing in a seven-game knockdown, drag-out playoff series and you know they can be on the floor and play a role in helping you win.”

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