Five options for Celtics to consider on robust NBA buyout market

Danny Green

The Boston Celtics only made one minor deal ahead of the 2023 NBA trade deadline. But that doesn't necessarily mean their roster is finalized.

After reportedly acquiring big man Mike Muscala from the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday for Justin Jackson and a pair of second-round picks, the Celtics still have an open spot on their 15-man roster. C's president of basketball operations Brad Stevens could look to fill that spot on the NBA's buyout market, where teams agree to "buy out" veteran players and allow them to sign low-cost contracts with new teams.

The deadline for bought-out players to sign with teams and still be eligible for the postseason is March 1, so the Celtics and their competitors have less than a month before the buyout market closes.

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While several big-name guards are expected to hit the 2023 buyout market -- Russell Westbrook, John Wall and Patrick Beverley, to name a few -- Boston is well-stocked at the position with Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon and Payton Pritchard all on the roster.

That said, the Celtics could benefit from more wing depth (or perhaps another big man), and they should have a few buyout options on that front as well. Here are five players expected to hit the buyout market who could make sense for Boston.


Danny Green, Houston Rockets

Green is a prime buyout candidate after being traded from the Memphis Grizzlies to the young, rebuilding Rockets. The 35-year-old is past his prime and didn't make his Grizzlies debut until Feb. 1 after recovering from a torn ACL, but he has postseason experience in spades, winning three NBA championships with three different teams (San Antonio Spurs in 2015, Toronto Raptors in 2019 and Los Angeles Lakers in 2020).

Green has always been a strong outside shooter -- 39.9 percent from 3-point range over 13-plus NBA seasons -- and would give the Celtics the wing depth they covet behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. If Boston thinks he'd be a good locker room fit, Green is worth pursuing.

Nerlens Noel, Detroit Pistons

The Celtics reportedly were among several teams interested in Noel before Thursday's trade deadline, but a deal never materialized. Detroit is loaded with young big men after acquiring James Wiseman from the Golden State Warriors, so Noel likely will want a change in scenery.

While Boston bolstered its big man depth by adding Muscala, Noel is an excellent rim protector who could serve as further frontcourt insurance behind Al Horford and Robert Williams. The 28-year-old Malden, Mass., native averaged 2.2 blocks per game for the New York Knicks in 2020-21 while shooting 61.4 percent from the floor.

Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers

Yes, that Kevin Love. The Action Network's Matt Moore reported Thursday that the 34-year-old could land on the buyout market as his role decreases in Cleveland. The Celtics have been linked to Love a few times in over the years, and his role in Boston would be similar to that of Blake Griffin as a veteran locker room presence who can provide the occasional spark on the second unit.

Love also has an NBA championship under his belt, so if the C's value that level of experience, perhaps Stevens will pick up the phone.

Will Barton, Washington Wizards

"Will the Thrill" has been speculated as a buyout candidate after staying in Washington on deadline day, and he'd be a solid pickup for a contender. The 32-year-old averaged 14.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game for the Denver Nuggets last season as a well-rounded wing and is shooting a respectable 38 percent from 3-point range for the Wizards this season.

Barton would fit well on Boston's second unit as a seasoned playmaker who can create his offense and set the table for others.

Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic

It's remarkable that Ross has lasted seven seasons on the rebuilding Magic, but his run finally might be coming to an end as Orlando's crop of recent draft picks develop into legitimate rotation players. While Ross' production has dipped a bit at age 32 -- he's averaging just eight points per game off the bench this season -- Celtics fans are well aware of the jolt he can provide to a second unit.


Ross was reported as Boston's "primary target" ahead of last year's trade deadline before the team dealt for White, so he's clearly on Stevens' radar.