‘Good Chance’ Two Celtics Players Get Replaced Mid-Season: Sources

Noah Vonleh

Getty Noah Vonleh #4, Boston Celtics

As it stands, the Boston Celtics have a full roster with 15 players along with two players who are on two-way contracts. However, they have multiple assets at their disposal, like the $6.9 million Juancho Hernangomez trade exception, the $5.9 Dennis Schroder trade exception, and the $3.23 Disabled Player Exception they were awarded after Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL.

If they utilize these assets for possible upgrades, the Celtics will have to get rid of some of their players. If they go that route, an Eastern Conference executive revealed to Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney the two players who are most likely candidates to be replaced on the roster: Noah Vonleh and Justin Jackson.

“Either (Vonleh) or Jackson or maybe both, in the end,” the exec told Deveney. “Robert Williams comes back and Vonleh is, what, your fifth big guy? If they’re looking to add something, though, it is probably a wing. That would mean Jackson probably is out.”

The exec also added how likely it is that both will be replaced by mid-season. “When we get to the buyout market, by the time we get to the playoffs, there is a good chance both Jackson and Vonleh get replaced.”

While Jackson has played in four games, where most of the minutes were played when the game was all but decided, the Celtics depended on Vonleh early on in the season when they played against the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat.

Both Jackson and Vonleh are playing on nonguaranteed contracts.

Exec Reveals if Celtics May Waive Other Bigs

While naming Vonleh and Jackson as the most likely players to get jettisoned by the Celtics mid-season, the exec told Deveney how the Celtics view Luke Kornet and Blake Griffin. According to the exec, Kornet is not going anywhere.

“They like Luke Kornet, they have until January until he gets guaranteed. I think they wind up going ahead and guaranteeing him,” the exec told Deveney. Kornet has seen his minutes load go up since playing 26 minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers on October 26, though his playing time has varied from game to game.

Kornet is on a partially-guaranteed contract. According to Spotrac, if Kornet does not get waived by January 10, 2023, the contract becomes fully guaranteed. Griffin, on the other hand, is on a fully guaranteed contract. The executive revealed that he too will stick around in Boston.

“They are not going to get rid of Blake Griffin,” the executive said. “They like his presence there, his experience level.”

Griffin has not played as much as Kornet, but his teammates like Grant Williams have shown to get along quite well with him.

Former Celtics Big Named as Possible Trade Target

In a November 22 Bleacher Report story, Zach Buckley detailed multiple players that the Celtics could target. Among those options was former Celtics big Kelly Olynyk.

“Kelly Olynyk, who played his first four NBA seasons in Boston, could be obtainable if (when?) the Jazz cool off and remember they actually kickstarted a top-to-bottom rebuild this offseason,” Buckley said.

Buckley then explained why Olynyk could be a desirable player for the Celtics.

“A return to norm for Olynyk himself might speed up that process, as the 31-year-old currently sports career-high (and almost assuredly unsustainable) shooting rates from the field (53.1) and from three (47.3).

“He doesn’t have much to offer defensively, but on the opposite end, he’s a steady source of shot-making, slick-passing and sound decision-making.”


Read More