With the first half of the season just about over, and the NBA trade deadline now less than a month away (March 25), expect trade rumors to hit a high point in the coming weeks. On Thursday morning, Shams Charania of The Athletic released a new batch of reports, including three that involve the Boston Celtics.
The highlight from Charania’s report is that Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant is, as Shams writes, “among top trade targets for the Celtics.” Grant represents a lofty goal for Danny Ainge and the Celtics, given the 26-year-old is in the midst of a career year and just signed a three-year, $60 million contract with Detroit before the season.
Over the course of his first six seasons, Grant never averaged more than 13.6 points per game. So far in 2021, he’s scoring 23.4 per contest, with five rebounds and three assists. Acquiring Grant would mean paying the price for buying high, while having faith that his jump in performance this season is not an anomoly.
Charania also names the Celtics as a possible landing spot for Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic. He write the Celtics (along with the Hornets) “are among teams interested” in Vucevic’s services, and that “rival teams expect that any haul for Vucevic would have to be massive.”
Vucevic’s name has been linked to the Celtics before, but this year may be as challenging as any when it comes to turning that rumor into a reality. Like Grant, he’s in the middle of a career year averaging 25 points and 12 rebounds a game. The 30-year-old is in the second season of a four-year, $100 million contract.
Between finding fair trade value and matching money, both Grant and Vucevic would likely take a serious investment on the Celtics’ part. Those types of trades rarely come to fruition at the deadline, usually taking place in the offseason instead.
Nemanja Bjelica is probably a more realistic target for Boston when looking solely at the deadline. According to Charania, the Celtics are one of five teams who have “shown interest” in the Sacramento Kings forward.
Bjelica is in the final year of his contract, and carries just a $7.15 million dollar cap hit. The 32-year old wouldn’t be as flashy of an addition as the other two players named in the report, but he’d give the C’s some much needed size (6-foot-10) and a veteran presence. So far in 2021, he’s averaging eight points and four rebounds coming off the bench for the Kings.
As Ainge told Toucher & Rich last month, the Celtics would like to wait to use the $28.5 million Gordon Hayward TPE until the offseason, to maximize it’s value. That is, “unless the right deal comes along.” Would Grant or Vucevic represent ‘the right deal?’ If not, the expectation of a bench addition like Bjelica feels much more likely right now.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.