Celtics Urged to Target $30 Million Sharpshooter: Exec

Alec Burks

Getty Alec Burks of the Detroit Pistons

After Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL in late August, the NBA awarded the Boston Celtics a disabled player exception (DPE) worth $3.23 million. The Celtics can use such an exception on a free agent for the remainder of the current season, which can be useful when veteran players are bought out midseason.

An Eastern Conference executive spoke with Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney regarding whom the Celtics could target with the exception should he hit the buyout market: Alec Burks of the Detroit Pistons.

“Alec Burks is back and playing for the Pistons. They are hoping to get his value up to trade him, but if they can’t, he’d be a buyout candidate and a fit in Boston. They can give him a bit more money with that DPE,” the exec told Deveney.

After playing for the New York Knicks from 2020 to 2022, Burks was traded to the Pistons along with Nerlens Noel and second-round picks in what was essentially a salary dump that opened up the necessary cap room to sign Jalen Brunson in free agency.

The Pistons (3-15) are the worst team in the Eastern Conference, and Burks is in the second year of a three-year contract, with his last year having a team option.

At the moment, the Celtics have a full roster of 15 players, though Noah Vonleh’s and Justin Jackson’s contracts are both non-guaranteed and Luke Kornet’s is partially guaranteed. If the Celtics plan to add someone on the open market, they can either get rid of one of them or trade one of their players who has a fully guaranteed contract.

Exec Believes Celtics Won’t Use DPE

Although the Celtics have the DPE because of Gallinari’s injury, they probably wouldn’t use it because they have the $6.9 million Juancho Hernangomez trade exception and the $5.9 million Dennis Schroder trade exception, the executive told Deveney.

“They are more likely to use the trade exception than the disabled player thing, and I don’t think their plan is to use it at all,” the exec told Deveney. “If someone else gets hurt, that might change. But they can make a bigger impact with the [traded player exception].”

According to Spotrac, the Celtics have until January 19 to use the Hernangomez TPE and have until February 10 to use the Schroder TPE. The Celtics have other TPE’s from Enes Kanter Freedom, Bruno Fernando, Bol Bol and PJ Dozier, but each of those exceptions is worth $2.1 million or less.

Danilo Gallinari Named as Top Trade Candidate

In a November 21 HoopsHype story, Michael Scotto projected the player from each team who was the most likely to be traded. Although he made it sound as though a trade is not likely on their end, Scotto named Gallinari as the Celtics’ top trade candidate.

“Most executives around the league don’t see the Celtics making a trade with the continuity of their young core. Should Boston want to tinker with its roster and improve its rotation depth, Danilo Gallinari’s $6.48 million salary can be used as a trade filler,” Scotto wrote.

Before the Celtics’ November 21 loss to the Chicago Bulls, Gallinari made two social media posts. One with teammate Grant Williams, and another of him doing some exercises on the Bulls court.

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