On Monday, The Ringer’s
Word on the street has it, Danny Ainge looks primed to once again fire up the trade machine.
Late Saturday evening, I received a flurry of texts from multiple executives around the league who said the Celtics were up to something. What they’re up to is unclear, but league sources have long said Boston is searching for upgrades to bolster its wing and big man position.
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Tristan Thompson, Jeff Teague, Daniel Theis: Who’s on the Move?
Boston, which has now dropped four of their last six games, has been readily floated in trade rumors since securing their record-setting $28.5 million trade player exception in the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade back in November. Ainge added fuel to that fire last week, voicing his desire to add “shooting with size” ahead of the March 25 trade deadline.
With the Celtics seemingly looking to add a prominent piece to their frontcourt, their current conglomerate of bigs could soon find their way out of Massachusetts. As O’Connor notes, center Tristan Thompson became trade eligible this past weekend and in his words “could be a perfect fit for a deal.” NBA rules restrict trades prior to February 6 on newly-signed players.
That means that fellow offseason addition Jeff Teague could also be up for grabs. On one hand, moving off of Teague makes obvious sense. The 32-year-old appears to have been passed by both Payton Pritchard and Carsen Edwards in the rotation. On the other hand, his poor play that has led to his demotion has also likely greatly diminished his trade value.
A more realistic trade piece may be Daniel Theis, whose expiring $5 million contract could intrigue suitors.
Potential Trade Targets for Celtics
Other potential Celtics on the move include young talents Romeo Langford and Aaron Nesmith, who
Another name to keep an eye on is Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes. The former NBA champion has picked up steam in recent weeks as a primary candidate for Boston to deploy their TPE on. Averaging 17.1 ppg and shooting a career-best 41.7% from beyond the arc, Barnes looks like an ideal fit next to superstars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Yet, as we previously noted, the Celtics would have to pull a few strings to make a Barnes deal plausible.
Barnes checks in with a “hefty but not prohibitive” $22.2 million this season and remains under contract for two additional years at “descending money.” With that said, while Boston’s TPE checks in at $28 million, they can only use $20 million of that money as they are nearing the luxury tax.
In other words, the Celtics must send a player or two packing if they hope to fit Barnes into their plans.
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