Celtics Trade Avery Bradley To Pistons

2:56pm: The Celtics and Pistons have sent out press releases confirming that Bradley and a 2019 second-round pick are headed to Detroit in exchange for Morris. The deal is now official.AveryBradley vertical

9:17am: The Celtics and Pistons are finalizing a trade that will send Avery Bradley to Detroit, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Shams Charania of The Vertical, Boston will also send out a 2019 second-round pick and will receive Marcus Morris in the swap.

Because Morris’ $5MM salary for 2017/18 is about $3.8MM lower than Bradley’s figure, the move will allow the Celtics to create the cap room necessary to finalize their maximum salary deal with Gordon Hayward, per Bobby Marks of ESPN. The club also has the $4.328MM room exception available for another free agent.

[RELATED: Gordon Hayward to sign four-year deal with Celtics]

Boston had reportedly been shopping Bradley, Jae Crowder, and Marcus Smart in an effort to clear enough space for Hayward’s new contract. With Bradley on the move, Crowder and Smart are poised to stay put, at least for now.

In addition to creating some cap space, the trade will add a power forward to a Celtics rotation that is in need of bigs. So far this offseason, the Celtics have waived Tyler Zeller and lost Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk in free agency, creating some frontcourt concerns for a team that already lacked reliable rim protection and rebounding. Morris isn’t an elite rebounder, but the 6’9″ forward has the ability to guard bigger players.

During his two seasons in Detroit, Morris missed just five regular season games, making 159 starts for the Pistons. He averaged 14.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 2.3 APG, with a shooting line of .426/.345/.763.

As for the Pistons’ side of the swap, the team had entered the offseason with a need for some backcourt depth and has now added Bradley and Langston Galloway. With Detroit’s payroll on the rise and its backcourt filling up, it will be interesting to see whether the team remains committed to retaining Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

By exceeding the taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Galloway, the Pistons created a hard cap of $125.266MM, significantly limiting their ability to match a big offer sheet for KCP unless they can shed a contract or two. Team salary is currently in about the $109MM range. For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (Twitter link) suggests the club’s talks with Caldwell-Pope haven’t progressed, and speculates that the team may make him unrestricted or decline to match an offer sheet.

Bradley, 26, enjoyed his best season in 2016/17 on a per-game basis, averaging new career bests in PPG (16.3), RPG (6.1), APG (2.2), and a handful of other categories. He also provided excellent perimeter defense and shot .463/.390/.731.

Although Bradley is a very solid pickup for the Pistons, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent a year from now, which is perhaps one reason the Celtics ended up moving him — Crowder remains under contract for three years, while Smart is a restricted free agent next summer and Morris has two years left on his deal, so the team retains some control on all three of those players. Wojnarowski suggests that the Pistons may be aggressive in pursuing a new deal for Bradley, who is extension-eligible, but the team’s cap situation limits its ability to give him a major raise before next summer.

Before agreeing to a trade with the Pistons, the Celtics reportedly talked to the Jazz about a sign-and-trade involving Crowder and to the Knicks about a deal that would have included Smart. Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter) that the Lakers and Clippers were “prominent in [Bradley] talks until the end.”

As an aside, it’s worth noting that the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement was put to good use in this deal. Under the new CBA, over-the-cap teams are permitted to take back 175% of their outgoing salary, plus $100K, instead of 150% plus $100K (up to a $5MM difference in salaries). In the old system, Detroit would only have been able to take back up to $7.6MM for Morris, but the new CBA allows the team to squeeze in Bradley’s $8.809MM salary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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104 thoughts on “Celtics Trade Avery Bradley To Pistons

    • mikedickinson

      Because he’s going to want $20 million a season after this year and the Celtics won’t have room for that. Smart is a great defender and much cheaper.

    • jdodge22

      Because this is the last year of his contract and they won’t be able to afford him and IT next year. Now what they get in return..I have no idea if it’s good or not.

        • KCelts

          Of course it is lol. I’m forever salty at Chris Broussard for leaving AB off the all-defense ballot because of that “reason”.

    • SuperSinker

      ‘Best defending SG in the NBA’

      I didn’t know Tony Allen got traded.

    • radatz17

      Because it gets them under the cap. It’s all about the money. And they get Morris. Bradley’s salary for next year is the highest of the three. Marcus is tough ball player so glad he is staying, at least so far. Same could be said for Crowder. Bradley works hard to be better on offense (his defense is great) but will never be a great shooter.

    • frankgrimes

      I wouldn’t call him the best defensive SG in the league. Smart is a better defender by the numbers and cheaper.

  1. Z-A

    Let’s the Pistons walk away from a KCP max by the Nets when Wiz match Otto.

  2. Connorsoxfan

    I feel like there could’ve been something better out there, but this isn’t a terrible trade. I’ll miss Bradley’s defense, but it’ll be replaceable as a unit, and I do like what Morris brings to the table, and he fills a need in the rotation. I’ll miss Bradley in Boston but it’s worth it for Hayward.

  3. Connorsoxfan

    Also who will start at SG in Boston? Do they think Jaylen or Smart can take on a bigger role now I guess? Also Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman are going to struggle since they can’t call Smart “Marcus” all the time with another Marcus on the floor lol

    • beantownmassacre

      Jaylen will probably play the 2. When Bradley was out jaylen played decent when he filled in for Avery

    • cjoker

      There is no 2-4 in the way that Stevens wants to approach the game. There will be a ball-handler, a big, and 3 wings on the floor most of the time. The Celtics are loading up on wings, accordingly.
      link to bleacherreport.com

      • Connorsoxfan

        Yeah I know that’s how they play but I guess I just don’t see the 5th starting caliber player. Like when you play the Wizards who guards Wall and Beal? Smart isn’t good enough to play Beal minutes. I get it on the offensive end and I get how they want to play, but since not everyone else plays like that made Bradley a nice defensive piece. Maybe if they can grab Tony Allen and see if he’ll take the minimum or room exception depending on how other stuff plays out, or even remaining cap room if they open too much, it’d be ok. I just don’t see how some of the lineups will work defensively, but I love Morris so I don’t completely hate this trade.

  4. Chris

    Celtics seem to have too many SF and not enough guards. While the NBA is becoming a position-less game, trading my best wing defender when my biggest competition (just in the East) includes Kyrie, DeRozan and Lowry, Wall and Beale, Middleton, etc… seems like Crowder was the piece to move. He’s got great value and is kinda the odd man out with Hayward, Brown, and Tatum in a minutes fight. Perhaps they should’ve traded for Paul George or Jimmy Butler

    • Chris

      Yes I know Smart is a great defender, but you rarely get a defensive/offensive combo guard like Bradley

  5. Chad Watkins

    Ya brown is ready, and crowder overall is better than Bradley. If you had to get rid of one of those 3 (crowder, smart, Bradley) Bradley was the least likely to be their in a year anyway.

    • Chris

      I’d keep Bradley over Smart. Crowder’s value is attached to his efficiency and contract but if he’s not playing will it matter? I reckon he can play 2-4 if necessary

      • myaccount

        Celtics aren’t winning it all in 2018 and Bradley will be a UFA after the season. Makes more sense to move Bradley than Smart right now.

    • formerlyz

      I’d have traded Smart well before I moved Bradley or Crowder, but at least they got a pretty nice deal, for the most part

  6. formerlyz

    If I’m the Celtics, I would have preferred to trade Marcus Smart. Losing Avery Bradley is a big deal for a few reasons. I considered him the face of the franchise the last few years, but I’m not a Celtics fan, so maybe that’s not how their fans feel. I don’t feel like they got entirely enough for Bradley, but they did get a good rotation player, on a really good contract, at a position of need, and I’m sure they had to give up a little value b/c of the known position they were in.

    Morris obviously plays the 4 for them, and he provides extra depth on the wing, if it becomes necessary due to injury or inexperience. Smart and Brown’s roles obviously increase significantly, and it will be interesting to see how adding Hayward, but subtracting Bradley impacts their shooting and rebounding.

    For Detroit, it’s a really good fit for them, even though they lose much important defense on the wing/at the 4. They have so many 4s, and had a need at the guard spot, so this addresses that. Stanley Johnson is going to need to take a big step forward for them IMO. I also see them keeping KCP at this point, with Bradley being a FA after the season. It hardcaps them, but they need his defense and shooting on the wing. It does somewhat make me question the Galloway move now though, but depth is always a nice thing to have for a team that lacked it at those spots previously.

      • formerlyz

        Over the last few years, who would you consider that to be, if not Avery Bradley?

        • mchaney317

          I’m not a Celtics fan, but I’d much more easily consider IT the face of the franchise

          • formerlyz

            Ya but I’d say that probably only started leaning that way like a year and a half ago at most. Makes sense. Bradley seems like the quiet, do your job type. But Bradley has also been there for like 7 (?) years, and was an important building block to their quick retool/rebuild, and I felt that his toughness and defensive identity personified what they were trying to do, and what celtics fans were looking for…but thats from an outside perspective

          • Reflect

            IT had one hot year. Bradley has been in Boston for almost 10. If anyone was the face of Boston it was definitely Avery Bradley.

  7. crazysull

    Maybe the Celtics think that they can resign him next offseason. That would be amazing.

    • Connorsoxfan

      Nope they won’t have any cap space next offseason. The only way they could’ve resigned him next year was to keep him and use bird rights.

  8. SouthersWi

    confused at who will be at the 2. unless the Celtics make Smart or Brown play a bigger role at the 2. unless they are going to try and put Fultz there. which I think they would put him there, just because of how high his pick was.

  9. bcard12

    As a celtics fan I hate this trade. The one guy I didn’t want to move was Bradley. I would have preferred to send crowder to the jazz for cap room rather than see an all NBA defensive first teamer go. Someone who was definitely building confidence scoring the basketball…..and for Marcus Morris? I could have stomached a deal where he was packaged for a star but this is crazy to me.

  10. KCelts

    My heart hurts a little bit. I was a huge Avery Bradley fan and will continue to be. He was outstanding and became a natural leader in Boston. I am really going to miss him.

    That being said, I think this move makes the most sense… at least for now. He was making the most between him, Crowder, and Smart and was on an expiring contract. Smart now can slide into the starting 2 spot and Morris most likely becomes the starting 4, which is an upgrade over Amir. Celtics now will likely have a great sixth man in Jae if they keep him too. There is risk to this deal moving a player of Bradley’s caliber, but it makes sense.

    • Reflect

      Also a Celtics fan and same. Bradley was my favorite player on the team since Pierce.

      • Connorsoxfan

        Loved Bradley and Pierce, but Isiah is my favorite player. He might be limited due to his size, and he can’t play defense for crap, but I just love watching run up the floor, down by 2 with a minute and change left, and everyone in the building knows he’s going to run up and shoot a 3 over the defender, and he hits out and you can just see the heart and passion he has for Boston and the game. I’ve never seen anything like it.

        • formerlyz

          I loved the fit for both team and player when you traded for him. Admittedly, IT is one of my favorites as well. I’m his size. When I played, I had a similar style, but he’s much more of a scorer to my old school facilitator. As you mentioned, it’s the heart and passion he plays with that makes him so fun to watch, and it’s also what makes him great. Even though he dropped 29 on the Heat in the 4th quarter last year, all I could do was enjoy the performance

          • Connorsoxfan

            And FWIW, I think you’ll grow to love Kelly Olynyk. You might not like the price right now, but after seeing the stupid money thrown at Hardaway and Porter, and seeing Olynyk play, you’ll like him. You will be praying for a shave and a haircut for him the whole time though lol

            • formerlyz

              I know enough about Olynyk. I watch around the league very often. It’s nothing against him personally. And his play hard style is something I would like, but paying him that much means he needs to play with Whiteside. 2 terrible defensive bigs together is really bad. Even Bosh and Whiteside didn’t work together, and Bosh is an elite defender, and exponentially better and more versatile than Olynyk offensively. But that’s not even my main issue. It’s talking about flexibility, letting the greatest player to ever play for the franchise, and the hero of this city, walk out the door to retain that flexibility, and them using it, and all the rest of our money, on a guy that doesn’t fit the team, when there are needs to shore up. All I thought about since before the season ended was seeing Babbit and McRoberts replaced, and how much that would improve this team. Then they stick themselves with another unmovable deal, and lose a significant part of what made them good last year, when they were healthy enough.

  11. cjoker

    I really think we need to view this trade from the standpoint that the Celtics’ philosophy is that there are only 3 position types: Ball-handler, Wing, and Big. In that sense, there is no “2,” and guys like Bradley, Smart, and Crowder play the same position. So, the decision about which of the 3 to move on from is really just about which do you think are the most valuable going forward. In that spirit, I’d argue that Bradley was:
    1 – The most expensive, and due to be even more expensive, even if he could be re-signed.
    2- The least durable – by quite a lot
    3 – The least physically compatible with the “Wing” designation – as he is considerably smaller than the other two
    It’s a bummer, because I really like the guy – but I think this was the right call.

  12. dust44

    That’s a great trade. They get another big guy who can shoot it. They won’t have a problem at the 2. Stevens is a positionless coach. Guard wing and Big is his positions. Heyward fits in as a guard and wing. Tatum and brown as well. Crowder is a D guy who is a wing. Smart is a guard/wing. There’s a lot of versatile players on this roster and the Cavs really can’t get better without trading Love. Then if they do trade love they still don’t match up well. The Celtics will have the ability to create matchup issues everywhere

  13. Flubby

    They aren’t winning the championship this year with out without Bradley and they definitely were not going to resign him so I don’t understand why people are so upset that he’s been traded… crowder had more value due to his below market contract and there clearly wasn’t a huge market for smart out there. It’s what needed to be done to bring Hayward in

  14. CAVS0223

    As a Cavs fan, I love what’s going on in Boston. They’re giving up their best players for Heyward. When you play with IT and Horford, do you really think his stats are gonna be any better than Avery or Crowder?! Lol. Celtics got worse with this trade and signing in my opinion. Gordon Heyward is not some offensive savior that’s gonna push them past the Cavs or maybe even the Wizards now. Love it!

    • Chris

      I agree with you. The moves the Celtics have made don’t seem to have actually made them a much better team. Losing Olynek, Bradley, and Johnson on the inside is more of a loss than the additions of Hayward and Morris are a positive. Aka the net difference is a not as good team imo. Also he can talk all he wants about no positions but Hayward, Crowder, Tatum, and Brown are all SFs

    • mchaney317

      I’m a Cavs fan too and I’ve been thinking the same thing. It’s way too early to judge all of this and I could totally be wrong, but I really don’t think Ainge has maximized all these assets so far. Hayward is a really good player, but he isn’t quite a superstar, and their purging of other guys (Olynyk, Bradley, etc.) barely makes an incremental difference in how good they’ll be, at least from an outsider’s perspective.

      • formerlyz

        I think they’re better without Olynyk. All they need is a big, which was a need before anyway

        • stug14

          We also don’t know what Zizic and Yabuse will bring to the table. Both guys may bring that size.

  15. Deal made the most sense since Bradley is certainly gone after next season, and he made enough that they could take a 5 mm player back for him while getting the cap space they needed. Smart is a RFA and not a starter so there’s a chance, plus they would not have gotten much in return (a 2nd round pick maybe).

    • Connorsoxfan

      lol no way you could definitely get more than a second round pick for Smart

      • Believe what you want, but if that were true, then he’d have been dealt. Smart, then Crowder, were shopped first and hard. You really think if they could have kept Bradley and got a 1st, they’d have chosen to keep Smart (with Morris) instead and give up a 2nd?

  16. Darin B

    Boston will still need to move a player or two to make the Hayward deal work IMO. I told people that adding Hayward but losing 2-3 key role players would not make them much better than they already were. Cavs will still beat them in a 7 game series without a problem and I hate the Cavs.

    • Connorsoxfan

      They don’t need to move anyone of note though. They renounced everyone, if they move Mickey and Jackson I think they have enough. Rozier might have to go but the difference between Bradley and Crowder’s salaries might be enough to keep him. That’s another way of looking at it. Get rid of Bradley, or get rid of Crowder and Rozier. It doesn’t look so bad anymore:

  17. crazysull

    The Celtics will now go out and sign a backup PG/SG, I could actually see them trying to bring Green back, I think Smart will be Bradley’s replacement leaving Rozier as their only decent guard off the bench, so they will need to use some if not all of their remaining cap space on a backup gaurd

      • Connorsoxfan

        They won’t trade Smart, Smart is more of an off ball guard now, they need to use their remaining resources on a rim protecting rebounder like Dedmon, and they should also bring in another guard like Tony Allen or bring back Gerald Green.

  18. socalbum

    Bradley one of my favorites, but if report is correct then Ainge did a good job of getting reasonable value in return when teams knew he had to dump salary and Bradley in walk year.

    • Bransonreynolds

      because they need cap room and they have 627 first round picks in the next 5 years so they don’t care about 2nd rounders

  19. Strange that they would pull Q/O from KO and waive TZ non-gtd 8 mm contract during the moritorium (maybe there was a deadline on the latter TZ wouldn’t extend for a week or maybe they didn’t consider S&T possibility with Hayward). Those two contracts would have allowed them to get Hayward via matching contract S&T (probably for 2nd round picks to Miami and Utah) – and keep Bradley (and Mickey/Jackson) and have full MLE and BAE.

    • Connorsoxfan

      Nope those contracts are half of Haywards. Math doesn’t work. Also I believe they had to be over the cap by the start of the moratorium for MLE and BAE.

      • Every team is technically over the cap on July 1 (and at all times thereafter until they renounce non-contracts) because all cap holds count toward the cap until renournced (including Johnson, etc.) as does a marker for the MLE (just the way they compute it). KO signed for 12.5 mm, and Zeller had 8 mm non-guaranteed contract. That’s 20.5 mm in outgoing salary. So, they could take back 35 mm (175% of that) in a 3-team deal. Hayward’s contract starts at 29.7 or so. Zeller could just be cut, without cap consequences. Miami gets KO at the same price. Both Utah and Miami would need something to facilitate this, but not much.

        • Luke Adams

          A few things would’ve been in the way of that. The biggest roadblock was Zeller’s guarantee deadline was July 2, so he couldn’t be kept through the moratorium. Also, would have to double-check this, but I believe Olynyk and Hayward would both be base-year compensation guys, making salary-matching tough. And making it tougher would be the fact that the 175% rule only goes up to a difference of $5MM in salaries. After that, you can take back $5MM more than your outgoing salary or 125% (whichever is greater).

          • Both good points. Not easy to get to 23 mm outgoing. But extending guarantee deadlines a week or so isn’t unusual, and there were other NGCs they could add (about 11 mm). KO would still count as about 6 mm. Amir Johnson (albeit only for 1 year) signed into open cap space for 11mm. Jerebko is still there as well. These are never easy transactions, but the hardest part is getting teams to take players into open cap space, and/or finding NCGs (there was a lot to work with here, and nothing is finalized until the moratorium is lifted, so some time).

  20. mcase7187

    I understand it had to done but y him I would have rather seen Smart traded I personally believe Bradley would have taken a team friendly contract

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