The Boston Celtics have the best record in the NBA, but their focus is winning the championship. They reached the finals in 2022 and have made the conference finals five times in the last seven years, but have been unable to hang banner number 18. Jayson Tatum is one of the best players in the world, and Boston remade their roster in the offseason. They added Xavier Tillman and made a few minor trades, but could use one more piece to push them over the top.
The trade deadline passed on Feb. 8, so the only way to add talent before the playoffs is via free agency. It is time for the buyout market. Veterans players will agree to take less money to become free agents. The new CBA limits teams over the first tax apron, like the Celtics, from signing anyone who made more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception of $12.4 million before their buyout.
Boston still could have several options, and Brad Stevens will act quickly. They would love to have one more reserve to turn to in the playoffs, and these players could join the Celtics on minimum contracts via the buyout market.
5. Thaddeus Young
Young was out of the rotation to begin the season, but the Raptors traded Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, which opened up minutes for the veteran. He is averaging 6.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.1 steals in 21.5 minutes per game over his last 14 contests. He was traded to Brooklyn on deadline day, but the 35-year-old is a 6’8 forward with plenty of versatility.
Young is on an $8.0 million expiring contract, and the Nets are unlikely to make a run. The veteran could be quickly bought out to join a contender. He has played in the playoffs nine times in 16 years, but his team has never advanced beyond the second round. Young would love a shot at his first championship, and there is no better place to chase it than Boston.
The Celtics have been searching for a trusted forward capable of playing behind Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis, Al Horford, and new addition Xavier Tillman. Thaddeus Young allows Boston to go small if they choose in the playoffs. He could be an impactful addition, but Young is not the only player the Celtics will have their eyes on.