Celtics Urged to Target NBA Champion With DPE

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

Getty Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

On November 7, the Boston Celtics were awarded a Disabled Player Exception worth $3.29 million due to losing Danilo Gallinari to an ACL injury. 

In the latest episode of the Vitamin C’s podcast, hosts Adam Taylor and Tim Sheils explore some of the potential candidates the Celtics could pursue if they decided to utilize the latest exception at their disposal. One of the more prominent names discussed was Brooklyn Nets forward, Markeiff Morris, who is on a one-year $2.9 million deal in Brooklyn. 

“I like him. I remember a long time ago there was ties between him and Boston…I think he gives you a little bit of an edge, he definitely plays a little more like a bully. So, if you’re looking for a little bit more of that aggressive kind of enforcer vibe, I feel like he gives you that. I think that three-point ball being there helps, and he gives you a little more size…If I were the Celtics, I would definitely enquire about Markieff Morris,” Sheils said on the November 7 episode.

Morris has played six games for the Nets this season, contributing 2.5 points, and two rebounds per game while shooting 31.3% from the field and 41.7% from deep in 8.5 minutes per game. 

Celtics ‘Likely to Wait’ Until After Trade Deadline

The beauty of a DPE is that it expires weeks after the trade deadline has passed, allowing teams to bide their time and see who shakes loose in the buy-out market. According to CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith, the Celtics could wait until early March before deciding what to do with their newest exception. 

“The guess here is that the DPE isn’t used anytime soon. Expect Brad Stevens and his staff to see what the roster needs and to keep the DPE around in case it could come in handy around the trade deadline. After the deadline passes, Boston will have a nice chunk of change to offer to a player who works a buyout. This is what happened with Greg Monroe back in 2018…The Celtics can use this to entice a veteran for slightly more than the minimum, assuming ownership is willing to eat that extra tax money.

That difference in salary will only grow, as veteran minimum deals do prorate, for both actual salary and cap/tax hit, by the day. Given Boston’s status as a Finals contender, that hopefully won’t be a challenge to add some more money to the payroll, should Stevens find a player he wants to acquire,” Smith wrote on November 7.

Still, if Boston believes that Morris would represent an upgrade to their current rotation, and has little hope of a better fit becoming available before the DPE expires on March 10, then it would make sense for them to approach the Nets in the coming weeks to test the waters on a potential deal, and at least gauge their asking price for the veteran forward.

Celtics Implored to Make New Additions

According to a November 6 article from Bleacher Reports’ Greg Swartz, the Celtics should continue to build out their current roster if they want to have the necessary depth to navigate the current NBA season and make a run to the NBA Finals.

“With a roster now loaded with guards and wings, a 36-year-old Al Horford still has to play nearly 30 minutes a night as the best big-man option this team possesses. Veterans like Blake Griffin, Noah Vonleh, and Luke Kornet should only be emergency options at this point, not regular rotation members on most nights…Finding another power forward or center who can defend and/or hit shots feels like a must,” Swartz wrote on November 6.

Boston is currently joint for first place in the NBA’s offensive rating metrics, so, it would make sense if Brad Stevens and the front office prioritized a defensive addition that can knock down their shots off the catch, which again, makes Morris an ideal fit for what this current Celtics team needs.

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