Celtics

Ainge says Celtics 'most likely' will use traded player exception in offseason

Celtics

The Boston Celtics have a $28.5 million traded player exception (TPE) -- the largest in NBA history -- at their disposal before the March 25 trade deadline.

There's no guarantee the Celtics will actually use the full TPE to make a move prior to the deadline, though.

The TPE doesn't expire until November, so it's possible that the Celtics could wait until the offseason to use it if they feel there would be better players available over the summer. 

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Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was asked about the TPE and the trade deadline during a Thursday morning interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich" show.

“Look, the biggest factor is the deal going to make a big difference for us not just for the next two months leading up to the playoffs, but is it going to be a game-changer for us going forward?" Ainge said. "So, I think like we’ve talked about before, the most likely scenario is in the offseason, but if there is a good deal that we can really get and secure a player who can be with us for more than just a one-time run, we certainly are in that business right now.”

Ainge was asked again about the team most likely using the TPE during the offseason.

“Yeah, I think that's for sure. I’ve always felt that, just because we’re hard capped during this year and using the full thing on one player would be less likely, but it’s not impossible,” Ainge said. “We're still looking at different ways to do trades, not just with the trade exception but the trade exception certainly gives us more flexibility to pull off some trades that we may not otherwise be able to do.”

 

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The Celtics need to make an upgrade to their roster to contend for an Eastern Conference title this season.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are having fantastic years and were selected to the All-Star Game, but this team lacks the required depth to be a true contender. Injuries took a toll on the Celtics throughout the first half of the season, but even with a healthy roster, it's hard to envision them beating the Brooklyn Nets four times in a seven-game series.

Big-splash targets include Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic and Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, but they would take up most of the TPE and cost the Celtics other prime trade assets. Recent reports suggest the Magic aren't even interested in moving Vucevic

It's possible the Celtics could use a portion of the TPE before the trade deadline and save the rest for the offseason. Our own Celtics insider Chris Forsberg recently looked at several reasonably priced trade deadline targets the team could pursue.