$18 Million Forward Listed as Prime Trade Target For Celtics

Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics

Getty Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are still short in the power forward position following Danilo Gallinari’s ACL injury that will likely keep him out for the upcoming season.

However, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey might have a solution, as his latest trade proposal would quickly resolve the Celtics’ issues at the forward position without tying them to long-term money.

The trade proposal looks like this.

Boston Celtics Get: Rudy Gay

Utah Jazz Get: 2023 second-round draft pick (via Portland)

“Over the last five seasons, Rudy Gay has moved to the 4 (he even spent nearly a quarter of his minutes at center in 2021-22) and accepted the fact that he’s a reserve. He also shot 36.0 percent from three over that span. If you’re worried about the numbers, Boston has a trade exception that seems almost tailor-made for the acquisition of Gay’s $6.2 million salary,” Bailey wrote in his September 19 article.

Gay, 36, is in the second year of a three-year contract, where he is scheduled to earn an average of $6.1 million a year. It is worth noting that the final year in Gay’s deal is a player option, and given his increasing age, it’s unlikely that he would decline the chance to add another $6.4 million to his bank account in what could be his final year in the league.

Throughout his career, Gay has participated in 1064 regular-season NBA games, starting 779 of them, averaging 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 34.9% from deep and 49.4% from inside the perimeter.

Is Rudy Gay on the Decline?

At age 36, there is no doubt that Gay is far past his best, and his numbers last season go some way to proving that thought process to be true. For the first time in his career, the veteran forward failed to average double-digit scoring numbers, despite playing almost 20 minutes per game.

In 55 games for the Utah Jazz last season, Gay averaged 8.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and an assist, while shooting 34.5% from deep and 49.4% from two-point range. However, there’s no denying that Gay is still an impactful rotation player, who is capable with or without the ball in his hands.

Furthermore, Gay might not give you the elite three-point shooting you would get from a healthy Gallinari, but his defense is significantly better as his mobility when navigating screens or changing directions at pace.

When you’re looking to acquire veterans, you have to accept they’re no longer the player they once was – but their experience and understanding of the league is what makes them such attractive prospects in the first place.

Celtics Could Trade Gallinari

According to Masslive’s Brian Robb, who was appearing on a recent episode of the Winning Plays Podcast, there is also a chance that the Celtics look to trade Gallinari, rather than trying to bring in cover for the first year of his current contract. However, Robb does note that any decision on Gallinari would probably not be made until much later in the season – so, we’re talking around the trade deadline.

“Realistically, it makes sense…If they’re running a fine-tuned machine mid-season and Luke Kornet becomes a better version of Daniel Theis or something like that. They’ll be like, ‘What are we going to get that’s going to cost more money to get another guy? What do we need to do that for? Or we can just get someone on the buyout market.’ But if not, then that’s certainly a trade chip that you’re going to have to explore using, and that sucks,” Robb Said.

Of course, there is a risk with trading Gallinari, due to how it would look to players around the league. After all, future free agents who consider moving to Boston may be hesitant if they feel that they could be traded should they suffer a significant injury – but, if Gallinari agrees to the move, and Boston can find somebody who they deem to be a good fit, it’s certainly possible Gallinari never ends up wearing a Boston Celtics jersey.

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