The Boston Celtics made the first trade of the 2022-23 NBA Season on Thursday. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Boston sent Noah Vonleh to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for cash considerations.
Vonleh made 21 appearances in green this season, averaging 1.2 points and 2.1 rebounds on 45.8% from the field and 25% from deep. Interim head coach Joe Mazzulla relied on the Massachusetts native in early games against the Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, and Orlando Magic to fill out the frontcourt rotation for the Cs.
Once Robert Williams III returned to the lineup, Vonleh found himself buried to the end of the Boston Celtics bench. Now, he wasn’t seeing a ton of time before the Texas A&M alumni made his season debut, but he’s since been cemented as a garbage-time player.
Boston Globe predicts the Boston Celtics first move of 2023
Earlier this week, the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach published a piece previewing 11 things to come in the New Year for the Boston Celtics. For the fifth point on his list, Himmelsback predicted that Boston would move on from Vonleh in order to create an extra roster spot. He explained that the Celtics would’ve had to pay his full salary if he was on the roster after Jan. 7:
"“The veteran big man’s deal will become fully guaranteed if he is not waived before Jan. 7. After getting a few opportunities early in the season, he was passed on the depth chart by Luke Kornet, and now Robert Williams’s return has reduced his value even more. Look for Vonleh to be waived to give the Celtics extra flexibility at the trade deadline and in the ensuing buyout market.”"
By trading Vonleh, the Celtics avoid paying the second half of his salary, as well as $7.15 million towards the luxury tax. There hasn’t been any indication on what’s next for Boston, but they are a team to watch in the buyout market for sure.