After completing a three-team trade with Chicago and Washington that sent Moritz Wagner and Luke Kornet to Boston, the Celtics are expected to waive a player to pursue a veteran big man on the buyout market, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, who says Kornet would likely be the odd man out.
However, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link) hears that there are no immediate plans to drop Kornet. As Himmelsbach explains, since Daniel Theis is now a Bull and Tristan Thompson remains sidelined due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Celtics may need some extra depth at the five in the short term.
Himmelsbach’s report makes sense — whether Kornet remains on the roster for another day, another week, or the rest of the season, the Celtics will owe him the same amount of money, so the logical move would be to hang onto him until the team lines up a deal with a free agent center.
Of course, there’s no guarantee anything will materialize on the buyout market, but the Celtics intend to weigh all the options, as Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said today (Twitter link via Keith Smith of RealGM).
Here’s more on the Celtics:
- Within his Athletic story linked above, Weiss suggests that Thursday’s series of moves provide further evidence that Celtics ownership is reluctant to green-light a “long-term deep dive” into luxury tax territory.
- Ainge assured Marcus Smart that the team wasn’t shopping him and that his name only came up in trade rumors prior to the deadline because he was being brought up by teams interested in him, a source tells Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link). Smart was rumored to be part of the club’s trade talks with Orlando, but ultimately stayed put.
- Having previously stated that he preferred not to use the Celtics’ massive trade exception on a player with an expiring contract, Ainge explained on Friday to reporters that he felt comfortable committing a significant chunk of that TPE toward Evan Fournier because he’s hopeful the veteran wing will remain in Boston beyond this season (Twitter links via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston). Ainge also said part of the reason he wanted to land an impact scorer like Fournier was that he sensed internal discouragement and wanted the players and coaches to “feel hope” (Twitter link via Forsberg).
- The trade of Theis will free up a bigger role for Robert Williams going forward, according to Ainge, who said the third-year big man has been the club’s best defensive center this season (Twitter links via Smith).
- Ainge said that Wagner and Kornet could join the Celtics as soon as today, while Fournier could report to the team in Oklahoma City this weekend. Additionally, the hope is that Thompson and Romeo Langford will be available at some point next week (Twitter links via Forsberg).