Athletic panel identifies 3 potential trades for the Celtics ahead of the deadline

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Justin Quinn
·3 min read
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As we cross into the threshold of the one-week mark away from the 2021 NBA trade deadline of March 25, speculation grows like weeds about what teams will pull off before the window to move players closes for the season.

And with a $28.5 million traded player exception (TPE) burning a hole in their collective pocket, the Boston Celtics are of course among the teams with the most eyes on them. and while plenty of discourse has been bandied about by the team’s front office and ownership about waiting until the offseason to use most if not all of the TPE, there’s a strong expectation we’ll see at least a smaller move or two from Boston before the 26th of March arrives.

To that end, a panel of experts from The Athletic including Jay King, John Hollinger and Jared Weiss got together to spitball some ideas that the Celtics could pursue, with some analysis on what it could take to get the call made to the league office as well.

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Issues of concern for the Celtics involve not just the obvious imperative of improving the team in the present, but also into future seasons while navigating the potential impact of triggering the NBA's punitive "repeater" tax. Boston can push this expensive obstacle to exorbitant roster payrolls back well into the future by staying below the luxury tax this season. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1372935611452112899?s=20

The Celtics can, as Hollinger notes, make use of recently-signed but perhaps extraneous big man Tristan Thompson's salary to take in a big deal at the deadline with the TPE and simultaneously generate a new TPE for Thompson's salary while they do it, an intriguing idea. Let's take a look at some of the proposed deals -- and be sure to avail yourself of their great introductory offers to get the fine-grained details on these proposals. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1372774917800816646?s=20

Harrison Barnes

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

"Tristan Thompson, Romeo Langford, Grant Williams and draft assets for Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica would keep Boston under this year’s tax line, generate a $9.2 million trade exception to help future flexibility and would push the Celtics only $5 million further into next year’s tax," suggests Hollinger.

Larry Nance, Jr.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

"Nance’s contract is small enough that trading Thompson and two firsts for him would create a salary match, leaving the entire $28 million exception available for other pursuits," observes Hollinger. "Additionally, Nance is signed for two more years at declining money and is capable of finishing games as a small-ball five."

Thad Young

Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports

"The other strong target for Boston is Thaddeus Young, who is only signed for one year and doesn’t offer as much floor spacing capability as the other two players. But he’s been really good for Chicago this year as a small-ball five and could fill a similar role for the Celtics," opines the former Memphis Grizzlies exec. "The key difference is the Celtics would likely only need to cough up one first-round pick to gain his services." This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=48001,47980,47971,47931] [listicle id=47987]

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