Celtics trade exceptions: Who could Boston acquire with three TPEs?

Celtics trade exceptions: Who could Boston acquire with three TPEs?

Can the Boston Celtics become the first team in five years to appear in back-to-back NBA Finals? That may depend on the work Brad Stevens does in the coming weeks.

The Celtics’ president of basketball operations on Tuesday identified a desire to add more consistent bench scoring and plays this offseason. Among the tools at Stevens’ disposal are a host of traded player exceptions (also known as TPEs), which can allow Boston to add players via trade without having to match salaries.

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What are the details of the Celtics’ TPEs and which players could they target with each exception? Here you will find everything you need to know about TPEs and Cs.

What is a traded player exception?

TPEs are created when a team trades a player without receiving any salary in return. They are often generated after signing and trading.

For example, when the Celtics traded Gordon Hayward to the Charlotte Hornets in November and received only one draft pick in return, they generated a TPE of $28.5 million, which was the equivalent of Hayward’s salary in the first year of his contract.

How can traded player exceptions be used?

Think of the Hayward trade in reverse order: If the Celtics had $28.5 million TPE, they could acquire Hayward (or any player making up to $28.5 million in the next year of his contract) in a trade. without having to “match wages”. or send back players whose salaries add up to that $28.5 million figure.

A couple of important notes about TPEs:

  • They generally expire one year after their creation.
  • They can not be combined with other TPEs. So the Celtics couldn’t acquire a $20 million player using a $15 million TPE and a $5 million TPE.
  • They they can used to acquire multiple players. So if the Celtics had a TPE of $20 million, they could acquire two players who make $10 million each next season.

How many traded player exceptions do the Celtics have?

The short answer: a lot. Boston currently has eight TPE at your disposal. However, five are worth less than $2.2 million, so we’ll focus on the big three: $17.1 million, $6.9 million, and $5.9 million.

Here’s a breakdown of each TPE and which players the Celtics can look to acquire with those assets.

Traded Player Exception No. 1: $17.1 million

How to get it: Evan Fournier trade with New York Knicks (August 2021)

Expires: July 18, 2022

Players the Celtics could target:

  • Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat ($16.9 million salary in 2022-23)
  • Norman Powell, Los Angeles Clippers ($16.8 million)
  • Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs ($16.6 million)
  • Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Falcons ($14.5 million)
  • Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic ($11.5 million)

The Celtics’ biggest TPE also expires earlier. Robinson isn’t the best defender, but he would fill Boston’s shooting need and has a connection to C assistant coach Will Hardy, as they both attended Division III Williams College in Massachusetts. (Robinson transferred to Michigan after his freshman year.) Powell is also a strong 3-point shooter (38.4 percent for his career) and was linked to the Celtics before the 2021 NBA trade deadline.

While Murray seems like an unlikely target if Boston keeps Marcus Smart at point guard, he coincided with Celtics head coach Ime Udoka for three seasons in San Antonio.

Huerter and Ross are tempting targets. The Celtics and Hawks reportedly discussed a trade involving Huerter and Smart in February, and the 23-year-old wing could provide a scoring boost off the bench. Ditto for Ross, who turned 31 in February but would add some much-needed scoring depth.

Traded Player Exception No. 2: $6.9 million

How to get it: Juancho Hernangómez trade with Memphis Grizzlies (Aug. 2021)

Expires: January 19, 2023

Players the Celtics could target:

  • Justin Holiday, Sacramento Kings ($6.3 million)
  • Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards ($6.3 million)
  • Patty Mills, Brooklyn Nets ($6.2 million; player option)

Our Chris Forsberg flagged Holiday as a possible trade deadline target in January, and the 33-year-old would give the Cs some veteran leadership. Mills is another Udoka disciple from his San Antonio days and could be a stabilizing presence behind Smart.

Boston reportedly plans to bring back Al Horford next season, but he may not be able to log many regular-season minutes at 36, so the 24-year-old Hachimura would be an intriguing depth option in the front.

Traded Player Exception No. 3: $5.9 million

How to get it: Dennis Schroder trade with Houston Rockets (August 2021)

Expires: February 10, 2023

Players the Celtics could target:

  • Cam Reddish, New York Knicks ($5.9 million)
  • Pat Connaughton, Milwaukee Bucks ($5.7 million; player option)
  • Ish Smith, Washington Wizards ($4.7 million)

Reddish was also involved in that hypothetical Smart trade and would be a good fit in Boston as a lanky wing behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Connaughton, the pride of Arlington, Mass., is an excellent outside shooter with an NBA title on his resume, while Smith is a Celtics killer who would fit a similar mold as Mills as a backup point guard.

All of these potential trades would require the Cs to give up some form of capital (likely draft picks), and the players mentioned above would only be available if their teams wanted to free up salary-cap space. Stevens suggested that Boston can take a conservative approach this offseason and only add players who are a good fit with the current Celtics core.

But if the Cs want to upgrade their roster, TPE is a valuable tool and there is no shortage of options available.

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