Boston Celtics

  • The Boston Celtics were reportedly interested in Knicks wing Alec Burks, who was ultimately traded along with Nerlens Noel to the Detroit Pistons. It apparently got to a point that an offer was on the table, before the C’s pushed away.

    Brian Robb reported at MassLive Wednesday that the Celtics flirted with the idea of a Burks trade, but they “turned down a Knicks offer of Burks into their [trade exception] earlier this month.”

    Boston earned a $17.1 million traded player exception (TPE) because of Evan Fournier, who went from the Celtics to the Knicks in a sign-and-trade last offseason. So if they went through with a Burks trade, it would have essentially become a Fournier-for-Burks swap with other assets.

    The Celtics are allowed to use this exception to acquire a player without having to send any money back. So they can trade for a player who makes as much as $17.1 million, and they could do so while only giving picks in return.

    Burks makes $10 million next year, implying that Boston likely passed on the trade to find a higher caliber player with more of its TPE.

    Jan 6, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) reaches for loose ball against New York Knicks guard Alec Burks (18) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 6, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) reaches for loose ball against New York Knicks guard Alec Burks (18) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

  • Burks averaged 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and three assists in 28.6 minutes last season. He also attempted 4.8 three-pointers a game, converting them at a 40.4 percent clip, although he also shot 39 percent from the field overall.

    The Celtics still have time to make a deal, but not a ton, as Fournier’s exception expires on July 18. President Brad Stevens will certainly use this deal, and seeing the general type of player he was potentially targeting in Burks shows what he’ll probably trade for: a scoring wing.

    Boston’s depth was nonexistent in the NBA Finals. Its three most used bench players (Grant Williams, Derrick White and Payton Pritchard) combined for nine total points in the last two games of the Finals, hence the interest in Burks, a proven bench scoring option.

    With absolutely zero inside information, here are some scoring wings that fit in the $17.1 million exception:

  • Malik Beasley, Timberwolves ($15 million)

    Dec 27, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley (5) dribbles the ball as Boston Celtics forward Al Horford (42) defends during the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 27, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley (5) dribbles the ball as Boston Celtics forward Al Horford (42) defends during the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

    Beasley averaged 20 points in 2019-20 (with the Timberwolves) and 19 in 2020-21, before his role was downsized this least season, averaging 12.1 points. The 25-year-old wing could serve as an athletic shot creator for a Celtics team that craves any sort of productive bench scoring.

  • Kevin Huerter, Hawks ($16.25 million)

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 17: Kevin Huerter #3 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots against Dennis Schroder #71 of the Boston Celtics during the first half at State Farm Arena on November 17, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – NOVEMBER 17: Kevin Huerter #3 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots against Dennis Schroder #71 of the Boston Celtics during the first half at State Farm Arena on November 17, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    Huerter is still just 23 years old, and shooting a 45-39-81 percentage split from the field, three and free throw line. He’s averaged 12 points the last three seasons and is a decent 3-and-D option with plenty of time to develop.

  • Luke Kennard, Clippers ($14 million)

    CLEVELAND, OHIO - FEBRUARY 19: Luke Kennard #5 of the LA Clippers attempts a shot in the 2022 NBA All-Star - MTN DEW 3-Point Contest as part of the 2022 All-Star Weekend at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on February 19, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

    CLEVELAND, OHIO – FEBRUARY 19: Luke Kennard #5 of the LA Clippers attempts a shot in the 2022 NBA All-Star – MTN DEW 3-Point Contest as part of the 2022 All-Star Weekend at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on February 19, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

    Kennard is the least likely of the three, as LA Times reporter Andrew Greif said the Clippers aren’t looking to trade him, which conflicts earlier reports saying they were. He is the best shooter of the three players. Kennard averaged 12 points in 2021-22 and shot over 44 percent from beyond the arc the past two seasons. He also shot 89.6 percent from the free throw line this past season.

    The Clippers have another player that fits the Celtics trade exception mold, and a familiar face at that. Marcus Morris averaged 15.4 points in 54 games this season, shooting a 43-37-87 split, the free throw percentage being a career best. The 32-year-old makes $16.3 million this upcoming season, then $17.1 million in the 2023-24 season before becoming a free agent.

    Again, there’s no further information here other than these three players are wings that score while making less than $17.1 million in the 2022-23 season. Regardless of who it may be, which could very well be someone not mentioned in this story, a Boston trade is going to happen in the next 25 days.