NBA Rumors: Celtics could look at these potential buyout candidates
BOSTON — The trade deadline has come and gone and the Boston Celtics look no different.
But the roster you see today may have a slightly different look in the coming days once the recently agreed-upon trades become official and the buyout market becomes clearer.
From the very beginning of this season, the expectation was that barring a major blockbuster-type of deal, the most logical pathway towards roster enhancement for Boston would be through the buyout market.
And while most of these players are still with their respective teams, don’t be surprised if a few become available in the near future.
And if that’s the case, you can count on the Celtics being among the squads looking to add to a roster that’s already among the better clubs in the Eastern Conference.
Here’s a look at some of the better buyout possibilities for the Celtics.
It’s hard to imagine that the Cavaliers didn’t move Thompson now that Andre Drummond, another paint-clogging big man, is on board.
Acquiring him via buyout won’t be easy, especially when you consider that there will be a number of other teams that would likely offer him a better chance at playing time, which at this point in Thompson’s career will likely take precedence over being part of a winning organization. Adding Thompson would give the Celtics another double-double player akin to Enes Kanter who is far more polished a scorer than Thompson. However, Thompson is the better defender, which makes for a smoother transition for him if he were to become a Celtic.
But because of the similarities that exist between Thompson and Kanter, getting both on the floor with consistent minutes would be challenging. And that doesn’t even factor in starting center Daniel Theis or injury-riddled Robert Williams III. Williams has missed the bulk of this season with a hip injury, which — if not for the injury — would have meant more playing time.
And if the C's were to acquire Thompson as Williams inches closer towards being fully healthy, minutes would once again be scarce for Williams.
The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired him via trade, but there’s a very good chance that they will cut him loose to sign elsewhere.
Having played in Boston for two seasons, his familiarity with the Celtics is attractive.
The level of trust that he has built up with head coach Brad Stevens — who he still keeps in touch with — only adds credence to the possibility of an Evan Turner return trip to Boston.
But his primary strength in Boston was that of a playmaker, something the Celtics have plenty of as currently constructed.
Plus the Celtics will have some competition for Turner’s services with the stiffest challenge expected to come from the Houston Rockets who could use another playmaker to complement their bevy of scorers.
Traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, there are reports that he will soon be a buyout candidate.
The Isaiah Thomas that carried the Celtics years ago is not coming back.
But for a Boston team that could use a jolt offensively off the bench, Thomas at a minimum is worth considering for a second tour of duty.
He’s shooting 40.8 percent from the field in 40 games with Washington, his highest field goal percentage since his last season in Boston in 2017.
In addition, Thomas is making a career-high 41.3 percent of his 3-pointers this season.
With the Memphis Grizzlies reportedly planning to waive Dion Waiters, talent-wise he is exactly what the Boston Celtics need.
But as we've seen with Waiters, a well-documented list of transgressions in Miami led to what we all saw was an eventual exit out of South Beach. And with the young, on-the-rise Grizzlies reportedly looking to cut ties with him, Waiters is running out of basketball lifelines at this point.
If the Boston Celtics were to make a play for Waiters, it would certainly come with some clear, well-defined expectations. And with him coming aboard on a minimum salary contract, cutting him loose if he strays wouldn't be a huge hit to the Celtics.
But the talent and scoring potential makes him a minimum-risk, high-reward addition for Boston.
The New York Knicks are looking to establish a core group of players, and Ellington does not fit in that or their playing rotation, which is why he's likely to join the list of players available after being bought out.
Ellington's strength for most of his NBA career has been his ability to knock down shots.
This season? Not so much.
In 24 games with New York, the 32-year-old Ellington has shot 31.7 percent from the field and 30.1 percent on 3's — both career lows.
However, he is a career 37.7 percent 3-point shooter, which offers a team like the Celtics hope that a change of scenery while being surrounded by better players will be just what he needs to get back on track to become a contributor off the bench with his shot-making ability.
The Sixers made moves at the trade deadline to improve their lot, but there has to be a little roster housecleaning to happen. They had to trade or waive a couple of players to make room for their new additions, and O’Quinn just might be one of those that has to go.
He is an undersized big who has shown he can at times be a long-range threat. More than anything, he would give the Celtics added depth in the frontcourt in case they run into a rash of injuries to bigs.
Boston has managed to play games with at least one — and sometimes two — of their primary centers unable to play.
More than anything else, O’Quinn would be an added insurance policy of sorts by providing an experienced, physical presence who can only enhance the team’s overall toughness and grit.
This would be an intriguing pick-up for the Celtics.
After beginning the season as a starter for Dallas, Lee has essentially been on the bench doing little beyond cheering for those who play.
Having seen limited action this season, phyical wear-and-tear won’t be an issue. And at this point in his career, the limited role that he would play in Boston would be ideal both for him and the Celtics.
But it’s unclear just how much basketball Lee has left in him to be a player a team can count on with some semblance of consistency, which is why his return to Boston should be filed in the “highly unlikely to happen” stack.
The Charlotte Hornets are all-in on developing their young talent, which has meant a much more minimized role for Williams.
Adding the 6-foot-9 Williams to the Celtics roster would provide Boston with a big wing who can play multiple positions. And with his shooting touch, he would be yet another player Boston could put on the floor who is a good enough shooter that defenses have to honor his long-range shooting.
Minutes might be tough to come by at first, but considering the position he’s in with the Hornets, he too might benefit from a change of scenery in the latter stages of his NBA career. He’s averaging career-lows in just about every statistical category, including minutes played. That’s the last thing a player hitting free agency this summer wants to experience.
But his availability would likely depend on whether he was willing to leave some money on the table in order for the Hornets to entertain buying him out of the $15 million he is due to make in this, the final year of the four-year, $54.5 million deal he signed in 2016.
UPDATE (Feb. 10): Williams has signed with the Milwaukee Bucks.
He’s on this list for many of the same reasons given for his teammate Marvin Williams. MKG is one of the better wing defenders in the NBA, the kind of player who would have no problem fitting into Brad Stevens’ system here in Boston.
Like Williams, he’s at a point in his career where winning overrides playing time.
But considering his versatility at that end of the floor, it would not be all that much of a shock for him to cement a spot for himself in the Celtics regular playing rotation as a key reserve off the bench that would put the Celtics on much better footing against teams like Miami which made a number of roster-bolstering moves at the trade deadline.
UPDATE (Feb. 10): Kidd-Gilchrist has signed with the Dallas Mavericks.
The writing was on the wall for Harry Giles when the Sacramento Kings decided to not pick up his fourth-year option, which will allow him to be a free agent this summer.
Multiple injuries have raised questions about his long-term viability in the NBA.
In two seasons, he has appeared in just 82 games with four starts, averaging 6.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
This too falls under the category of highly unlikely considering the 21-year-old is more about promise than proven talent which doesn’t address the team’s need for depth.
The former lottery pick struggled to find a role with the Phoenix Suns and hasn’t been any better with the Milwaukee Bucks.
As far as buyout pick-ups go, Bender is not a priority-type pick up for Boston, but rather a young prospect with some intriguing skills who might be worth bringing in for the rest of the season to get a closer look at and see if he can be of use down the road.
The 37-year-old big man was bought out immediately by the Atlanta Hawks after acquiring him this week.
He has size, strength and the kind of experience you would like to have on your bench.
However, Nene appears to be near the end of the line as an NBA player, which puts a very limited value on what he would bring to the table.
Because of that, Nene is highly unlikely to find his way onto the Celtics roster.