Boston has already renounced its rights to Kelly Olynyk, a key offensive spark off the bench with his ability to score from the perimeter. Now it looks as though the Celtics will have to trade away one of its elite defenders in order to continue shedding salary. And the three targets most teams have focused on, are Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart. Terry Rozier is also available, but the market for the aforementioned players has been much stronger.
“Boston has to unload one of those three,” a league source texted CSNNE.com on Wednesday. “And to be candid, it really doesn’t matter which one. All three of them, no matter where they end up, will help a team.”
Because the salary cap did not rise as much as projected, they will likely have to trade one or more of those three players to sign Hayward. Sources told ESPN that Boston has discussed trade concepts involving those players with at least half a dozen teams on Wednesday.
Brian Robb: Don't be surprised to hear trade talks on Crowder, Bradley and Smart in coming hours/days. C's will undoubtedly test market on all of them.
Avery Bradley is poised for the biggest payday of his life, which could double his salary, or more. Yet, as much as he said he considers Boston his “second home” while hosting his basketball camp at Brandeis University on Monday, he knows change has been all around him in his time with the Celtics, and that he is not immune to that change.
“That’s something that’s out of my control,” he said. “I don’t worry about it. I know that, if that were the case and I happen to get traded, the Celtics are going to do whatever is best for them and I am going to have to do whatever is best for me once I am put in a different situation. Our job is to play basketball, not worry about trades.”
Avery Bradley: “I care, but I know that Danny will make the best decision. I trust him. In all these years that I’ve been here he’s been making the right decisions for our team. No matter what people thought about them at the time, they always ended up working out.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Philadelphia searching for defensive-minded guards to play with Ben Simmons. One target: Boston's Avery Bradley. No traction.
The Celtics have talked intermittently with the Clippers about Blake Griffin, per several league sources, but a deal is extremely unlikely. Griffin will be a free agent this summer, and Boston would probably need official permission to talk to him about his future -- a concession Minnesota allowed Cleveland before the Kevin Love trade. The Clips would ask for a bounty, starting with Jae Crowder and one of the Avery Bradley/Marcus Smart duo, plus picks, per league sources.
The Celtics have one of the NBA’s better backcourts, a nice blend of offense (Isaiah Thomas), defense (Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier) and a burgeoning star capable of both (Avery Bradley). It’s also one of the league’s most affordable, with Bradley ($8.3 million) and Thomas ($6.6 million) making well below market value, and Smart and Rozier on rookie deals. That will change soon. Smart is eligible for an extension in 2017. A $10 million-plus offer will be the starting point of negotiations. Thomas and Bradley will be free agents in 2018, eligible for max salaries of $32.4 million per season. Neither will likely come near that, but understand: This is the ballpark Boston is playing in. The Celtics won’t pay all of them. They can’t pay all of them, not if they want to continue to pursue another impact player. If the Celtics make a significant trade, it will undoubtedly include one or more of their star guards.
With Sacramento in shambles once again, Lowe was asked by David Thorpe whether he believes the Celtics would be willing to offer Avery Bradley or Jae Crowder in a trade. "A year ago, six months ago, I would have said yes," Lowe replied. "And what's interesting to me -- look, everyone knows the Celtics have the goods to make a real offer, although ... maybe that Nets pick isn't the golden ticket we thought it was going to be. We'll see. I think the Nets will regress, long story short. So I think (Celtics president of basketball operations) Danny (Ainge) would gamble. I don't think that is the majority view of the organization, including the coach. I don't think Brad Stevens wants to touch DeMarcus Cousins with a 10-foot pole. And that carries a lot of weight there. Not only that, they just signed a center. And they think Al Horford is a center, and will play more center as pieces come and go in Boston. And so I don't know what that does to Boston's hunger to acquire a superstar big man who is going to be a locker room question mark."
If the Celtics conclude this season's team can't make real playoff noise, Bradley becomes a sneaky interesting trade piece even though Danny Ainge loves him. (Thomas is indispensable; Boston has no one else who can skitter into the teeth of enemy defenses.)
KC Johnson: Avery Bradley also has been discussed in one permutation of Bulls-Celtics talks, per source.
August 1, 2021 | 9:39 am EDT Update
Michael Scotto: The Brooklyn Nets will tender a qualifying offer to forward Reggie Perry, league sources told @hoopshype. Perry will become a restricted free agent. He was a two-way player for Brooklyn last season.
Hollinger: I’ve heard a lot of different stuff, but if I had to bet on one outcome, I think it ends with an offer sheet from the Bulls that the Pelicans decide to match after Kyle Lowry signs with the Mavericks. At the end of the day, Ball is both young and good, and having him on a multiyear deal on the same timeline as Zion and Ingram is still New Orleans’ best option. Keeping him also lets them re-sign Hart and use their full mid-level exception — and hopefully build the team in a more organic way than relying on the cap-space fairy to save them.
With Ball’s ties to the Los Angeles area, there will always be speculation about him making a potential return to the West Coast. With Russell Westbrook going to the Lakers, the Clippers are obviously the only team we should focus on here. There have been some rumors about the Clippers having interest in Ball to fill their hole at point guard. Reggie Jackson was incredible during their playoff run last year, but I’d imagine the Clips have some interest in getting younger and a little more athletic in the backcourt.
Tatum is healthy now and is also coming off his best game in a Team USA uniform, with 27 points and five 3s in a 35-point win over the Czech Republic Saturday night. Tatum was terrible in that exhibition win over Spain (3-of-9 shooting) and in the Olympics-opening loss to France (3-of-9 shooting); he scored 17 but was 2-of-7 from 3 in the 54-point win over Iran. “I don’t know,” Tatum said Saturday night, when asked why he thought he’d gotten off to a slow start. “New environment, new basketball, different style of basketball, the rules are different, playing on a new team, it’s a lot of things. But I was never worried, never concerned. I knew that shots would fall eventually and start to feel good about yourself, and then it’s just basketball.”
Spain is much closer in that department and has the discipline to run an offense that could exploit some of Team USA’s defensive switches. Unless Tatum is back to his old self, and the Americans we’ve seen in the last two games are the collective pieces of a set that is not going to suffer another setback. Any more of those, and the gold medal chase is over. These games really count now. “Our confidence never wavered,” Tatum said. “We understood that it wasn’t gonna be easy. We didn’t have our full team until four days ago, five days ago, so we knew that we had a lot of challenges ahead of us. And we also know that we would continue to get better every day, we would get better from each game, each practice, just the more time that we spent together, we were never going to be the same team, from day one, that we are now. And hopefully we’re better this time next week than we were today.”
August 1, 2021 | 7:33 am EDT Update
Ben Golliver: 2020 Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball bracket is set. USA will face Spain, the reigning FIBA World Cup champions, in quarterfinals. If USA wins, would face Australia or Argentina in semis. – France vs. Italy – Slovenia vs. Germany — – USA vs. Spain – Australia vs. Argentina
The Chicago Bulls and forward Lauri Markkanen are open to a sign-and-trade deal, league sources told HoopsHype. One team to keep an eye on in the sign-and-trade market for Markkanen is the Minnesota Timberwolves, who’ve been searching for an upgrade at the power forward position.