On Friday, the Celtics made a pair of headlining moves that could lift them to the top after losing in the NBA Finals last season.
Boston has reportedly agreed to trade for Indiana guard Malcolm Brogdon and will sign forward Danilo Gallinari once San Antonio releases him. The Celtics haven’t given up any major rotational pieces by making these moves, and they still have ways to improve as well.
The simplest asset the Celtics have to facilitate a move is their $17.1 million, which they received in a sign-and-trade deal when Evan Fourier left for the Knicks in the last offseason. However, the exception expires on July 18 and it is “unlikely the Celtics will use it to acquire another substantial piece,” according to The Boston Globes Adam Himmelsbach.
“The [league] A source said the Celtics had actively pursued deals involving the exception for the past two weeks, but ultimately the deal involving Brogdon, whose salary was too large to fit in the exception, turned out to be the best option,” Himmelsbach wrote following Brogdon’s reported trade.
According to league rules, the exception can only be used to acquire players with equal or lower salaries. The exception also cannot be used to partner with another player to help match wages in a trade. So, as Brogdon’s salary for the upcoming season is $22.6 million, Boston had to bring in multiple players to help match salaries in order to make the move.
The moves of Brogdon and Gallinari, along with the reported re-signing of Sam Hauser on Sunday, make it harder to add new players to the rotation. But, Boston could eat a bad salary to help ease the trade down the line.
Heat guard Duncan Robinson has four more seasons left on his five-year, $90 million contract. Robinson fell out of Miami’s rotation last season and with the team reportedly in the Kevin Durant draw, Boston could acquire him to help facilitate the move. The Clippers have player blocking on the perimeter. Striker Marcus Morris and full-back Luke Kennard are both said to have been mentioned in the trade talks and are the exception.
After trading Rudy Gobert to the Timberwolves, the Jazz will have several exceptional players, such as Jordan Clarkson, Patrick Beverley and Malik Beasley. If Utah is looking to enter a rebuild, which ESPN’s Brian Windhorst alluded to in a viral “First Take” segment on Friday, Boston could help Danny Ainge and relieve the Jazz of some salary.
By including Daniel Theis in the Brogdon trade, the Celtics opened up the need for a third center. They reportedly inquired about free agent center Thomas Bryant. If they are unable to land it, the salary of former Celtic and now Pistons center Kelly Olynyk falls within the trade exception.
Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens warned fans after the draft that they might not find the right trade to use the $17.1 million trade exception before it expires, mentioning that the team had a pair of smaller exceptions they could use before the trade deadline.
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