Heat, Celtics Looking for Trade Reunion With Big Man: NBA Sources

Kelly Olynyk, Jazz

Getty Kelly Olynyk, Jazz

Rekindling an old relationship can be a rewarding move, and it appears that desire may be showing itself with the NBA‘s trade deadline a week away.

A source close to the Heat tells Heavy Sports the club is interested in a reunion with Kelly Olynyk — and that Miami isn’t his only suitor. The Celtics are also said to be looking at the possibility of re-acquiring the 6-11 floor-spacing big man, who spent his first four NBA seasons in Boston.

According to a league executive with knowledge of the situation, the Celts are still trying to learn what it would take to get Olynyk from the Jazz, but an Eastern Conference source whose club has been working the market for a center/power forward doesn’t believe the Heat or Celtics will be able to meet what Utah wants for Olynyk, averaging 11.9 points on 49.5 percent shooting (40.6 pct. on 3-pointers).

The Jazz are currently loaded with extra first-round picks after trading Rudy Gobert to Minnesota and Donovan Mitchell to Cleveland last offseason, and Boston isn’t looking to part with anyone from a main rotation that owns the best record in the league.

“Olynyk is a guy they have interest in, but I doubt if that will happen,” the latter source told Heavy. “Both teams that have had Olynyk have interest in getting him back, but I don’t think that that’ll happen, just like I don’t think (a move for San Antonio’s Jakob) Poeltl will happen, either.

“I don’t think Boston really has anything to trade that they’d actually want to give up — or what they’d need to give up for Olynyk — and I don’t think Poeltl fits there. They can’t trade this year’s (first round) pick. They can trade a down-the-road first, but I don’t see that right now. I’m not sure Utah or San Antonio has much real interest in Pritchard, and forget about Grant (Williams), because the purpose of getting another big is to get someone after Grant. He’s their third big right now, and they’re looking for a fourth or fifth big, not necessarily a third big. They at least need a fourth one. (Luke) Kornet’s helped them when guys have been out, but I think they want to have more options in the playoffs.

“Boston and Miami want to get another big player that’s better than what they have — not necessarily better than (Celtics Rob) Williams and (Al) Horford and Grant and (Heat center Bam) Adebayo, but better than all of the rest of the guys after them.”

Poeltl, who’ll be a free agent after finishing a three-year deal with $9.4 million this season, is seen as more of an inside presence than Olynyk and figures to draw a lot of attention this summer, which could make him a rental if acquired. One league scout thinks Olynyk could be better at filling a role for Boston or Miami.

Missing Kelly Olynyk

The Celts let Olynyk get away to Miami as a free agent in 2017 when they needed his cap space to sign Gordon Hayward. The Heat made him part of the trade for Victor Oladipo four years later.

“I guess they did what they had to at the time, but I think they both realize what (Olynyk) can do,” said the scout. “It’s hard to find 7-footers that can play with everybody, a 7-footer that fits in with a player like Bam Adebayo. Poeltl is interesting, but he can’t play with Rob Williams, because you’d have two non-shooters. It makes it hard. That’s why Horford and Rob are a good fit if they’re healthy. Poeltl is insurance for Rob Williams, but he’s not so much of an insurance for Al Horford.

“And he’s going to want money. We’re being told Poeltl wants to be paid close to $20 million dollars a year. I don’t know if he’ll get that. I’d be surprised. I mean, I like Poeltl, but he’s not an every-down back. He’s a specialist in our game today.

“With Olynyk, it’s not about him being a great player or anything; it’s the fit. Because of his ability to shoot and pass, he can play a shooting 5 or a shooting 4 with a non-shooting 5. The versatility is unique.”

The 31-year-old is making $12.8 million this year, with a small partial guarantee for next season ($3 million) that will be locked in at the full $12.2 million if not waived by June 28.

No New Wing for the Celtics?

It was thought the Celtics might be more in the market for help on the wing, with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown playing big minutes, but one rival front office source isn’t expecting anything major in that regard.

“I’m not saying they wouldn’t upgrade their end of the bench wings, but there’s really no room in the rotation,” he told Heavy Sports. “They have Derrick White, (Jaylen) Brown, (Jayson) Tatum, Marcus Smart and (Malcolm) Brogdon. I mean, they can’t play Brogdon, Smart and Derrick White only at point guard, so those guys are all playing wing in some situations. They basically are five deep at the wings. And Grant Williams spaces the floor for them, too.

“There might be some decent veteran wings available now or in the buyout market, but how much would he see the court in Boston? Not only that, it’s just going to create havoc for your coach. They already can’t find enough minutes for some of their guys. There’s games when Brogdon should be on the court more. The reason why it’s working for them now is that Tatum and Brown give them flexibility because of their size to do that. And Smart and Brogdon can guard bigger guys because of their strength and experience.”


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