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Could we all be wrong about the Boston Celtics not using their $17.1 million TPE?

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The conventional wisdom around the NBA after the Boston Celtics elected to trade for Indiana Pacers point guard Malcolm Brogdon was that the team was unlikely to use its $17.1 million traded player exception to take on more salary after the Brogdon deal pushed them well into the league’s luxury tax range. But, new reporting from The Athletic’s Jared Weiss suggests that might not be the case.

“The Celtics are still exploring opportunities to utilize the $17.1 million Evan Fournier trade exception (TPE) that expires on July 18,” writes Weiss, who notes that any such use would likely be part of a trade sending out a rotation player “or to acquire someone on a relatively small salary.”

The team still needs a sturdier presence in the paint as a style of reserve big man not currently on the roster who might also be able to play big regular-season minutes.

Such a trade might be a possible way for the team to roll some of the utility of the TPE forward without losing all of the resource — and without incurring a monstrous tax bill with Boston already about $20 million into the tax.

With Weiss’ sources suggesting we’ll be seeing much less of Al Horford in the regular season to preserve him for the playoffs, using that TPE might prove a critical tool.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire.

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