How close were Celtics to trading up in draft? Brad Stevens explains

Brad Stevens Bob Myers

Few expected fireworks from the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Draft, but Brad Stevens and Co. didn't even light a sparkler Thursday night.

Despite rumors that they might trade up into the first round, the Celtics stood pat and used their only selection (No. 53 overall) on Alabama guard JD Davison. In a post-draft press conference, Stevens admitted the C's at least discussed swinging a draft-night trade before staying put.

"We talked about moving up, but parting with significant players on our team, or using our TPEs (traded player exceptions) and other assets, wasn’t something we wanted to do right now," the Celtics' president of basketball operations told reporters.

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One report suggested Boston -- which dealt its 2022 first-rounder to the San Antonio Spurs as part of the Derrick White trade -- had interest in the Golden State Warriors' No. 28 selection. Another report mentioned Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard as rotation players the Celtics may consider parting with to acquire a first-rounder.

As the draft played out, however, Stevens and his staff couldn't find a return package that justified giving up their core assets.

"The cost for moving up was just too much for where we are (at No. 53), whether that was the 20s or even the 30s or low 40s," Stevens said. "We got a list of guys we were comfortable with and as the day continued, we had a couple of guys that were still on our board to choose from."


The Celtics' draft night inactivity isn't surprising. While Boston does need to improve its bench, this core group just came within two wins of an NBA championship and should remain largely intact for next season. So, unless there was a first-round prospect the Celtics really liked who could make an immediate impact in 2022-23, it makes sense to stick with players who have been here before instead of throwing a rookie into the mix.

That's not to say Boston will remain quiet all offseason, however. The Celtics have several TPEs (including one worth $17.1 million) that they can use to acquire talent via trade and fortify their roster.

"We know who fits in that TPE and who might be available. Now, it’s about cost," Stevens stated. "We decided tonight that we didn’t find anything we were ready to use the TPE on. But things are just getting started."