Stein’s Latest: Olynyk, LaVine, Tucker, Murray, McClung

The Celtics view Jazz big man Kelly Olynyk as a possible trade target, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column.

With a $12.2MM expiring contract, Olynyk is one of several Utah veterans who might be on the move prior to the trade deadline. Boston drafted him in 2013 and he spent his first four NBA seasons with the Celtics, so he’s familiar with the organization.

After being a starter last year, Olynyk has moved into a reserve role in his second season with the Jazz, although he has started seven games because of injures to teammates. He posted 27 points, three rebounds, six assists and four steals in Thursday’s win at Detroit.

Boston’s current salary structure makes an Olynyk trade challenging, notes Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Without giving up one of their rotation players, the Celtics would have to have to send out several minimum contracts to match Olynyk’s salary.

Stein also expects the Knicks to have interest in Olynyk after starting center Mitchell Robinson underwent ankle surgery that could sideline him for the rest of the season.

Stein passes along more inside information on potential trades:

  • Citing conversations at the G League Winter Showcase, Stein remains skeptical that the Sixers have interest in trading for Bulls guard Zach LaVine. League sources tell Stein that Philadelphia wants to find someone who can contribute on both ends of the court, and the team is reluctant to give up its cap space for next summer to acquire LaVine, who still has three seasons left on his five-year, $215MM deal. The Lakers may be more inclined to consider LaVine after going 2-5 in their last seven games, but Stein notes that L.A. also prizes salary flexibility and tends to seek out players with shorter contracts to team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
  • The Bucks and Heat still have “a healthy level of admiration” for P.J. Tucker, league sources tell Stein, but his $11MM salary for this season and a guaranteed $11.5MM for 2024/25 will limit trade interest. Tucker, who was acquired from Philadelphia as part of the James Harden deal, hasn’t played for the Clippers in nearly a month.
  • Rival teams expect the Hawks to consider a Dejounte Murray trade before the deadline, Stein adds. Atlanta’s front office may explore deals involving several players as it tries to assemble a better mix of talent around Trae Young. Stein states that the Hawks would be hoping to replenish their draft assets after sending three future first-round picks and a pick swap to San Antonio in the trade to acquire Murray.
  • In an interview with Mac McClung, the 2023 Slam Dunk Contest champ says he’s still deciding whether he’ll return to the event to try to defend his title.
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