The Boston Celtics have been in cruise control so far this season, maintaining the best record in the league as they will see Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and head coach Joe Mazzulla feature at the All-Star Game.
Even with their dominance, there is some room for improvement especially with their depth at the wing or big man spots.
The league started to become more active with trades heading into the Feb. 9 deadline, especially after the Los Angeles Lakers made a solid acquisition in Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards in January as they aim to make a playoff run and the Brooklyn Nets sent Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks this past Sunday.
While it shouldn’t be expected for the Celtics to make any big trades involving their core at the moment, players such as Payton Pritchard, Luke Kornet, and Justin Jackson are some names they can float around to see which teams would like their services.
They also have several traded player exceptions (TPEs) they can utilize in these trades. According to Spotrac, they still have the $5.89 million TPE from the Dennis Schroder trade during the 2021-22 campaign (expires Feb. 10), the $3.2 million disabled player exception following Danilo Gallinari’s injury last June, and the $1.8 million TPE after trading Noah Vonleh earlier this season among others.
As the season winds down after All-Star Week, it must be a top priority for Boston to continue winning games in convincing fashion while ensuring their players are healthy heading into the postseason for a title run. By making some trades to complete their depth, this will be achievable.
Here are 3 players the Boston Celtics should consider pursuing by the trade deadline
No. 1: Jae Crowder
A reunion between the Celtics and Jae Crowder would provide both sides plenty of comfort and flexibility at the wing.
Crowder has yet to appear in a game this season, expressing dissatisfaction towards his downgraded role with the Phoenix Suns.
The 10-year veteran put up 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.4 steals per game in 28.1 minutes of action during the 2021-22 season. He averaged similar numbers in the postseason as Phoenix lost in seven games to the Dallas Mavericks in the West semis.
The six-foot-six forward is on the final year of his contract which is $10.1 million this season, so Boston would need to figure out what they can move to match salaries and bring him back to Beantown. One trade they could do is to send Payton Pritchard, Justin Jackson, and the TPE from last year’s Schroder deal as all three will round up to $10 million, on par with Crowder’s salary.
Getting Crowder will allow the Boston Celtics to give Tatum more rest, as the former provides solid 3-point shooting and scrappy defense to keep opposing offenses on edge.