Celtics Predicted To Avoid Trade, Make Move in Buyout Market

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Getty Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics continue to find themselves linked in trade rumors as we inch closer to the February 9 trade deadline.

However, according to CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith, who spoke with multiple sources around the NBA, there is a growing belief the Celtics will stand pat in regards to making a trade before looking to improve their roster via the buy-out market.

“Various sources told CelticsBlog that they expect Boston to be a top destination on the buyout market. One source said, “They don’t need to make a trade. Why bother? They don’t need anything. Brad (Stevens) already gave Joe (everything he needs). And that Gallo (Danilo Gallinari) exception (Disabled Player Exception) will allow them to outspend everyone else for a buyout guy. They can let the deadline pass and then just pick off the best free agent or two for playoff depth. And vets will all want the Celtics because they can get paid and they can win,” Smith wrote.

The Celtics currently boast a $3.2 million disabled player exception due to losing Danilo Gallinari to an ACL injury this off-season, and it is not scheduled to expire until March 10 unless Gallinari returns to the rotation before that date. As such, the Celtics should be able to make a significant addition should the right player clear waivers.

Celtics Encouraged To Make A Trade

In a January 17 article for NBC Sports Boston, Chris Forsberg wrote about the Celtics’ potential reasoning for being slightly reckless with their future draft assets if it meant acquiring a player who could potentially push Boston closer to a championship run.

“While this armchair general manager would probably tend to err on the side of caution, there is one strong argument for being slightly more reckless: Opportunities to compete for a championship are never guaranteed and, if the Celtics believe they have a legitimate title chance — which a half-season worth of returns seems to confirm — then mildly overpaying for even a small bit of potentially surplus depth isn’t the worst crime,” Forsberg wrote.

Fortunately for Boston, their current roster is already among the league’s elite, and any additional trade will be nothing more than a depth move to help them sustain a championship push and limit the regular-season minutes for some of their star players.

There Is A Downside To Trading More Draft Assets

According to Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale, trading away any more future first-round picks does come with a risk, especially when you consider Jaylen Brown’s impending free agency at the end of the 2023-24 season.

“Boston has the capacity to dangle first-rounders in 2025, 2027 and 2029. The latter is too far away to spotlight…Rival teams should be most interested in the 2025 selection. It conveys relatively soon yet post-dates Brown’s entry in 2024 free agency. The current extension rules make it prohibitive for him to sign one, so he will hit the open market. This isn’t to imply Brown is a flight risk, but he could be,” Favale wrote.

Brad Stevens will need to walk a fine line between improving the roster for now and ensuring they have enough draft capital to remain competitive in the future. However, winning Boston’s first championship since 2008 is the primary goal, and as such, we should expect Stevens to make moves with that target in mind.