2. John Konchar, Memphis Grizzlies
Konchar is a 27-year-old swingman currently playing for the Memphis Grizzlies. As far back as November, it was reported that Boston was "keeping tabs" on him ahead of the trade deadline, with the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors also in that boat.
Konchar's 2023-24 stats are far from flattering, as he is averaging a measly 3.7 points per game with 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists. His 29.7 percent from deep is nothing to write home about either. Nearly all of Konchar's statistics are below his career average, so it appears that teams are banking on his performance being more of a product of his struggling 18-30 Grizzlies squad, and hoping that he can return to the 41.3 percent three point sharpshooter that he was in 2021-22.
Sam Hauser has emerged as a key three-point shooter off the bench for the Celtics, setting a career high in minutes per game and shooting over 40 percent from three. Hauser and Konchar project as similar player archetypes, but you can never have too much bench depth in a postseason run.
Konchar's cap hit comes in at $2.4 million before his three-year, $18.5 million extension (average annual value of $6.2 million) kicks in this offseason. With his AAV lining up perfecting with Boston's TPE, this would enable Stevens to bring him to Boston while avoiding any salary concerns in a trade.
1. Naji Marshall, New Orleans Pelicans
Marshall is having a solid season in New Orleans, averaging 7.5 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from deep in 18.6 minutes per game. Marshall has been a steady presence off the bench, only starting one of the Pelicans' games this season.
The Xavier alum is a 6'6" small forward in his fourth season in the league at age 26. Like Konchar, Marshall's salary falls within the range where the Celtics can utilize their TPE. He is earning $1.9 million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season.
Last season, teammate Larry Nance Jr. referred to Marshall as a "junkyard dog" due to
his willingness to make hustle plays and the pride he takes in his defense". Tell me that doesn't sound like a guy that you would want on your postseason roster.
Boston has three second-round picks at their disposal in the 2024 Draft. The Celtics hold the San Antonio Spurs' second-round selection, but that is protected from pick 31 to pick 54. One of the second-rounders should be enough to acquire Marshall, who again would not require any salary offsetting with his eligibility for the TPE.
Marshall's scouting report is built for playoff basketball, and his salary slides in perfectly to Stevens' TPE. He will likely be towards the top of Boston's list.
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