The Boston Celtics have the largest trade players exceptions (TPE) in NBA history as a result of the sign-and-trade that sent Gordon Hayward to the Charlotte Hornets.
The exception is reportedly around $28.5 million, and the Celtics use it to acquire a high-priced player who could help the team at both ends of the floor and provide valuable depth. Of course, the C's would still need to add the necessary assets (players, draft picks) to make any potential trade work for both sides.
Not all trade exceptions are used, and they typically expire one year after being created. But with a TPE so large, the Celtics need to do something to bolster a roster that has championship aspirations.
Which players could the C's target using their trade exception? Chris Forsberg and Max Lederman listed a few intriguing options on the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast.
"Here are some of the more higher-priced options out there," Forsberg said. "We got Otto Porter Jr. making $28.5 million, DeMar DeRozan at $27.7 million, Nick Vucevic at $26 million, Buddy Hield at $24.9 million, LaMarcus Aldridge at $24 million, Draymond Green at $22.2 million, and the last guy I'll throw into this mix is Harrison Barnes at $22.2 million."
Forsberg added: "The one name that jumped out to me was Harrison Barnes. He has championship experience. I don't know what Sacramento's plan is -- obviously, they lost Bogdan Bogdanovic and they've got Buddy Hield." Forsberg also noted that Barnes' shooting and championship experience would make him valuable for a contending team.
The next tier of players making under $20 million also includes some interesting names. Forsberg listed Gary Harris at $19.2 million, Aaron Gordon at $18.1 million, Clint Capela at $18 million, Evan Fournier at $17.2 million, Eric Gordon at $16.9 million, Dejounte Murray at $14.3 million and Will Barton at $13.7 million.
The ideal replacement for Hayward would be a player who can score off the bench, and maybe even serve as a playmaker for the second unit.
Harris is a quality point guard who has scored 10-plus points per game in five straight seasons. Aaron Gordon is an exciting and athletic player who can score 15 points per game, but he's a poor shooter and doesn't have a well-rounded offensive game. If the C's want to add another center, Capela makes a lot of sense as a rim protector and someone who thrives in the pick-and-roll offensively.
The Celtics don't have to rush into a decision with the trade exception. They can wait until the season starts or survey the options at the trade deadline when teams have fallen out of the playoff race. Either way, the TPE gives the C's a little more flexibility in their pursuit of building a title-winning team.