If the Detroit Pistons can’t find a trade suitor for center Nerlens Noel, PistonPowered’s Aaron Kellerstrass believes the former lottery big man could hit the buyout market and potentially sign with the Boston Celtics.
Bearish on where Noel’s game is at nearly a decade removed from an ACL tear while at Kentucky that dropped his draft stock, Kellerstrass doesn’t think the Celtics would give up anything of value in a trade. Hence, the buyout.
Kellerstrass broke down why a trade is unlikely given Noel’s salary and the mismatch with the cap figures the C’s front office would need to include in a trade:
"“Even if they were willing to give up a second-round pick, Noel is making $9.2 million this season and teams like the Celtics really don’t have the contracts to match in a trade. They would need to combine two contracts like Grant Williams and Danilo Gallinari and there is no way that Boston is going to give up a rotation player for Noel, even if it got them out from Gallinari’s contract, one which the Pistons would be loathe to take on considering it runs for another year and he hasn’t even played this season.”"
Potential Boston Celtics big man buyout market options
Competitive teams with expiring contracts on their roster that could be used in a trade with a rebuilding team are the franchises worth monitoring for the Boston Celtics as the February 9 trade deadline imminently approaches.
One likely postseason-bound team in particular with a big man who has no role on his current team the Cs should monitor is the Sacramento Kings, who could look to move Alex Len as a salary-matcher in a deal. Len has not been played for anything close to starter minutes since 2018-19 season and doesn’t hold much value to a team that doesn’t have the exact big man issues Boston does.
Andre Drummond could also be a goner if he sticks with Chicago past the deadline and the Bulls opt to move win-now pieces. He’d help the C’s rebounding issues and add insurance in the frontcourt in the case of an injury to rim-protector Robert Williams III.