Getting out from Kemba Walker’s monstrous contract can be categorized as a win for Brad Stevens and his Celtics. However, dealing the four-time All-Star to Oklahoma City also has its drawbacks — mainly the vacancy it’s left in Boston’s backcourt.
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As of now, Smart appears primed to inherit the starting gig left behind by Walker. While the 27-year-old may not be your quintessential ball-handler, he showed enough growth in that department this past season (averaged a career-high 5.7 assists) to warrant the opportunity. Plus, over the years he’s proven capable of operating smoothly alongside stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum — a major plus.
Beyond Smart, there’s Payton Pritchard and not much more to get too excited about. Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters are no guarantee to return next season. There is a strong possibility that stashed 2020 pick Yam Madar is added to the mix. However, that likely won’t be enough to make Stevens content with his team’s current rotation, as he recently stated the team must improve to “get in the mix.”
Boosting the roster will be difficult to come by on draft day, as the Cs don’t select until No. 45 overall. Thankfully the team still has $11 million remaining on the Gordon Hayward exception to help usher in such improvements.
Tomas Satoransky Floated as Hayward TPE Candidate
NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg recently broke down Boston’s offseason to-do list, which he envisions being a “busy-but-not-a-lot-of-big-waves” type of summer. One move in particular that likely won’t steal headlines but could help bolster an area of need would be making a run at Chicago Bulls combo guard Tomas Satoransky — a deal that the Celtics insider argued in favor of.
Trade for Satoransky using Hayward TPE…
Boston’s ability to use those exceptions would likely be limited to acquiring players currently under contract. Here’s one example to consider: Could the Celtics engage the Chicago Bulls on veteran point guard Tomas Satoransky, who is on a partially guaranteed $10 million deal this season? The Bulls could use some financial flexibility and Boston could take Satoransky back into the remainder of the Hayward exception while adding some needed size and experience at the point guard spot.
What Satoransky Brings to the Table
In 58 games (18 starts), the Czech guard averaged a modest 7.7 points and 4.7 assists per game, both of which were a drop off from his previous season’s output (9.9 points and 5.4 assists in 2019-20). With that said, Satoransky honed in as a shooter this year, solidifying himself as one of the Bulls’ most constant contributors off the bench. The 29-year-old improved upon both his field-goal percentage (51.4%) and 3-point shooting percentage (35.6%).
Furthermore, since 2018, he’s averaged 5.0 assists per game. Aside from Smart, no player on the Celtics’ current roster has ever exceeded 4.3 assists per game over a single season.
If that’s not enough to entice Celtics faithful, Satoransky recently flaunted his clutch-gene, sinking an off-the-glass fadeaway jumper with 1.8 seconds left in overtime, to hand the Czech Republic a 103-101 victory over Canada in the Olympic qualifying tournament semifinal.