Celtics

Boston Running Out of Time to Be Trade Buyers

on

The Boston Celtics find themselves in a different situation ahead of the February 10th trade deadline.

At 25-24, good enough for eighth in the Eastern Conference, the C’s have been above .500 just two times since December 7th.

How the Celtics do over the next week will play a large role in determining their path at the deadline. President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens has shown he isn’t shy about making trades, executing four of them before the season started.

An underrated note is the Celtics must convince ownership they are worth investing in. After trading Juancho Hernangomez to the Spurs for Bol Bol and PJ Dozier, Boston is still a little bit over the tax line. Last season, Daniel Theis was dealt at the deadline in order for Boston to get under the luxury tax.

After a gauntlet of a December schedule, Boston has a tremendous opportunity to prove they need to be buyers, not sellers, come February.

What Does Selling Look Like?

In short, selling means anyone but Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are available. Per Adrian Wojnarowski, they are gauging the value of Marcus Smart and Josh Richardson around the league. The same can also be said for young players like Grant Williams, Romeo Langford, Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith.

This, however, would be less realistic if the Celtics considered themselves as “sellers.” If Boston chooses to sell, the likely candidates to be traded would be Dennis Schröder, Bruno Fernando and Enes Freedom.

Schröder is on expiring deal worth about $5.9 million. Since he was signed using the taxpayer mid-level exception, the Celtics won’t be able to afford him come the offseason. Additionally, Schröder would add a scoring punch off the bench for a guard-needy team, giving him plenty of trade value.

Moving either Fernando or Freedom would potentially dip the Celtics under the tax without having to make another move. A second-round pick would most likely need to be included to get a team to take either of them.

Potential Trade Targets

When looking at potential trade targets, shooting is an obvious need. Boston ranks 22nd in three-point percentage at 34.3%. On top of that, they are making just 35.1% of their wide-open three-point attempts, per NBA.com.

Before getting to the trade targets, it’s worth noting that Boston does have trade exceptions available. The biggest being a $17.1 million TPE from the Evan Fournier sign-and-trade. They also have three additional ones ranging from $9.7-to-$5 million. They are unlikely to be used, however, if ownership is unwilling to dip into the luxury tax.

Buddy in Boston?

The first trade target is Buddy Hield. Hield would provide instant spacing to a cramped Celtic offense. A career 40% three-point shooter, Hield is sinking 38% of his triples while averaging 15.1 points per game. Unfortunately, with Hernangomez’s contract already being moved, Josh Richardson would most likely have to be involved.

Cheaper/Sneakier Targets

A cheaper trade target could be Indiana’s Justin Holiday. It’s no secret the Pacers are open for business and Holiday would give the Celtics a three-and-D wing off the bench. He’s averaging 10.9 points per game on 37.1% shooting from distance. He would also be able to take some of the defensive pressure off the Jay’s by absorbing bigger assignments.

Since he only makes $6 million, Langford and a filler could get the deal done.

A final sneaky candidate is Malik Beasley. With the emergence of Jaylen Nowell, Beasley could be seen as expendable by the Wolves. While his shot has been streaky this season, he is a career 38% three-point shooter and can create his own shot. Like with the first two, however, Richardson would have to be included to make salaries work unless Boston is willing to use the Fournier TPE.

Moves On The Horizon

It appears that no matter which direction the Celtics go, changes will be made. Boston has been described as “extremely active” on the trade front.

Marcus Smart may have been hinting at the possibility that he could be moved at the deadline as well. In his postgame press conference on Sunday, Smart revealed he told his teammates he loved them. This could be seen as a sign of leadership, but the timing of his comments leave the right to be skeptical.

Boston has shown the ability to compete with the NBA’s best. They rank fourth in the East in point differential, ahead of the two-seed Bulls and four-seed Nets. There is a good team somewhere within this Celtics roster, as the C’s are 9-5 when their starting lineup of Smart-Brown-Tatum-Horford-Williams plays.

With the trade deadline looming, Boston is running out of time to prove that they deserve to be buyers.

About Mason Urban

Sports writer for The Spectrum newspaper and contributor for The Lead Sports Media

Recommended for you

Powered by themekiller.com