Brad Stevens Sounds Off on Celtics’ Summer Spending Limits

Brad Stevens, Celtics

Getty Brad Stevens, Celtics

There’s less than a week left on the running Evan Fournier traded-player exception clock, but for the Celtics and team president Brad Stevens, the chance still exists to put the TPE—which runs as high as $17.1 million—to use, even if it is a longshot. And hey, if nothing gets done, Stevens still has other NBA options in his back pocket. Namely, two other significant TPEs, especially one worth $6.9 million that will not run up until January 2023.

But to use those exceptions, especially on a well-paid big guy like Derrick Favors (who has been mentioned as a potential target), the Celtics would have to go even deeper into tax territory than they already are. Favors makes $10.1 million next year and would cost Boston exponentially more depending on where the team’s final tax number lands.

Stevens, though, said that spending into the tax is not a hindrance for the team’s ownership group.

“They’ve been great about that this whole time,” Stevens said. “It’s been, whatever we need to do. Whatever we need to do to try to maximize our opportunities and we obviously have a really good core, a really good team. Fortunate to make these two really good additions and we wouldn’t be able to do that without that commitment from them. I think that’s been—I’ve had the green light this whole time to make those calls.”

Celtics Still Need a Big Guy

Stevens was speaking at the official unveiling of the Celtics’ two big offseason acquisitions, Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari. Brogdon was acquired in a trade early in free agency, and Gallinari was signed with the team’s mid-level exception. Brogdon has one year and $22.6 million on his contract, while Gallinari has a two-year deal worth $13.3 million, with an option for next season.

The Celtics still need a big guy to replace Daniel Theis, who was sent to Indiana in the Brogdon trade. It is possible the team will use a TPE for that purpose, but it could also find a veteran minimum player to fill the role. Or, the Celtics could keep a young player on board, like Trevion Williams or Mfiondu Kabengele, who has played well in Summer League action.

The Celtics could also go with more small-ball lineups, perhaps with Gallinari at center. He did that frequently with Atlanta over the last two seasons.

Stevens: ‘I Really Value How a Team Fits Together’

Stevens said his primary objective is to put together a roster with pieces that complement each other. Here’s how he put it:

I think you guys have been around me long enough to know, I really value how a team fits together and how it should function together and how, if everybody brings their strengths to the table, how it accentuates each other. … I think we’re deep. I think that we have a lot of options. One of the things I thought, as we went through the playoffs and the different challenges, you see some series are better for some guys than others, but one of the things I thought would be good would be if we gave ourselves more options with a “small lineup.” Obviously, we’re not small when you talk about Danilo and Malcolm, they’re big guys. But they’re very skilled so they’re able to space the floor and play that way. It just gives us even more options in certain scenarios.

So, to add form here, we talked about obviously it’s great to have the green light to continue to add in any which way we need, but one of the things I will keep focusing on is adding without taking away. We do have a deep team. There will be the need for everybody to give a little, which is important, but I think everybody here is willing to do that because they got a taste of what it’s all about in June. It’s pretty clear what we want to do here moving forward.