The Boston Celtics have until next summer to put their $17.1 million trade exception (courtesy of Evan Fournier) to good use. However, with bench scoring and 3-point shooting each proving to be a legitimate concern early on for Ime Udoka’s offensive rotation, Brad Stevens and company may want to start scoping the market.
In terms of who could fit the bill as a “realistic trade target” for the Cs, Mass Live’s Brian Robb highlighted a handful of regularly linked names in his most recent Celtics mailbag column:
As far as possible names for a veteran scorer, guys like Thaddeus Young and Terrence Ross should be readily available as their teams continue to rebuild. Otherwise, mediocre teams looking to shake things up (Indiana, Memphis) could be in the market to move some veterans on expiring deals (Kyle Anderson, Jeremy Lamb) if they look to build more for the future rather than this current season.
As Robb alluded to, Boston’s aggressiveness could ultimately hinge on their legitimacy — or rather how Stevens views the roster’s upside for the remainder of the season. “The team is already into the luxury tax and I don’t envision Brad Stevens adding significantly to the tax bill for a middle-of-the-road squad and that’s what this team has been so far,” he proclaimed.
Young on His Way Out of San Antonio?
Young, the eldest of the bunch at 33 years old, arrived in San Antonio this summer via the DeMar DeRozan trade. Despite receiving fewer minutes on average with the Spurs than he has in any of his previous 14 years, Young remains a relatively efficient and versatile contributor. On a per 36 minutes basis, Young is averaging 15.9 points and 7.1 boards, while his 59.0% field-goal percentage marks a career-best.
“I am not sure what is going to happen with me, whether I will be here next year or if I will be here past the trade deadline,” said Young via Express News. “But, at the end of the day, at this point in time, this moment, I am here, I am a San Antonio Spur and I am planning on giving 120 percent each night.”
With the Spurs boasting a record of just 4-11 on the season, Evan Sidery of Basketball News believes Young could be a hot name on the buyout/trade market:
With the Spurs looking more like a potential tanking team than realistic playoff contender, Young would be wise to get out of the Alamo City as soon as possible. There have already been rumors of the Spurs dangling Young in trades to contenders like the Phoenix Suns, who are in need of one more piece to fortify an already strong second unit. Whether it’s eventually in Phoenix or elsewhere, Young’s leadership, defensive versatility and all-around offensive game allow him to be a snug fit on any roster. Honestly, knowing Young’s value, it wouldn’t be a shock to see San Antonio trade him for a young prospect or a future pick at some point. However, if the Spurs decide to keep Young until the middle of the season — a realistic possibility with San Antonio seemingly believing that the team can make a playoff push with an extremely inexperienced roster — he instantly becomes one of the best buyout options to keep an eye on.
Young clearly doesn’t bring the same floor-stretching ability that some of the other candidates bring to the table — he’s attempted just two 3-pointers all season long. However, as a career 13.0 points per game scorer, he’d be a welcomed addition to the Celtics, who boast the NBA’s fourth-worst scoring bench.
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NBA Exec on Ross: ‘He’ll Be Moved’
What Young lacks in range, the majority of the remaining candidates make up for. Both Anderson and Lamb are currently shooting 40.0%-plus from beyond the arc this season. Ross, while a bit more streaky, is likely the best pure-scorer of the bunch. Despite his current 3-point slump (currently shooting a career-worst 27.8%), he remains one of the league’s better shooters coming off screens and could prove to be a spark-plug for Boston’s second-unit — because it’s looking as if he won’t be serving as such for the Magic much longer.
“He’ll be moved,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype of Ross. “They were trying to move him at the draft. They wanted to put him in a place where he could win. I think he’s worth a couple of second-round picks.”
Ross is averaging 10.7 points per game for a Magic team who, like the Spurs, have just four wins to their name.