The Boston Celtics have been wheeling and dealing this offseason as new president of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens proving quickly that he isn’t afraid to pull the trigger on trades if he believes it helps the basketball team both on the court and in creating some salary cap flexibility.
Stevens made his mark right off the bat by trading Kemba Walker in a deal that brought back Al Horford. Then he made deals to acquire Josh Richardson and Kris Dunn. He then turned around and traded Dunn in a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies to acquire Juancho Hermangomez.
But the move that may pay dividends by once the NBA Trade Deadline surfaces is $17.1 million trade exception created by the sign-and-trade deal with the New York Knicks involving Evan Fournier.
Boston Celtics have another shot to benefit from the value of a trade exception
Great, another trade exception, right? Well, given Stevens’ early resume as a front office executive, it is safe to assume he will use the trade exception when the time is right on a player who can benefit the team.
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In a recent article by Bleacher Report, Greg Swartz makes interesting some way-too-soon 2022 NBA Trade predictions. One of which involves the Celtics and that $17.1 million trade exception. While this prediction doesn’t involve adding another major star like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal to form to a new big 3 along with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, there are some interesting names who could help strengthen the team in multiple ways.
In making his prediction, Swartz writes:
"“A trade exception, of course, means Boston doesn’t need to send any salary back in return, and can absorb a player or multiple players’ salaries that add up to $17.1 million or less. Exceptions are good for one calendar year, meaning the Celtics have until July 17, 2022 to use it or lose it. “Players that would fit into this new exception and could be available include Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams ($17.1 million), Orlando Magic point guard Markelle Fultz ($16.5 million) and Washington Wizards forwards Davis Bertans ($16 million) and Kyle Kuzma ($13 million).”"
Some interesting names there, especially Kuzma. But, in making early predictions like this, it is hard to know what this team will be under new head coach Ime Udoka.
With the addition of new players like Richardson, Hermagomez and Dennis Schröder along with the return of Horford and Enes Kanter, the 2021-22 Boston Celtics should be a much deeper team, especially if players like Robert Williams, Payton Pritchard, Romeo Langford and Aaron Nesmith continue to grow.
What will this team even need by the NBA Trade Deadline? Well, as the team is currently constructed, Schwartz’s early prediction has inspired me to look at 3 players who could make an impact. Only one of those players is a player Schwartz suggests. Want to guess who?
Well, let’s explore.