Report: Celtics eyeing Jazz's Kelly Olynyk on NBA trade market

Kelly Olynyk

The Boston Celtics have the green light from team co-owner Wyc Grousbeck to spend ahead of the NBA trade deadline. Might that include bringing back a familiar face?

The Celtics are exploring the possibility of acquiring Kelly Olynyk from the Jazz and are "still trying to learn what it would take" to land the big man in a trade with Utah, Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com reported Thursday. Bulpett also reported that the Miami Heat are considering a reunion with Olynyk.

The 6-foot-11 big man is enjoying a solid season for the Jazz, averaging 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40.6 percent from 3-point range.

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Boston reportedly is in the market for a big man, and Olynyk would be a good fit based on his ability to stretch the floor and his familiarity with Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, who was Olynyk's coach in Boston during his first four NBA seasons from 2013 to 2017. Olynyk's current head coach is former Celtics assistant Will Hardy, while Jazz CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge has deep C's ties as well.

A deal involving Olynyk might be hard for the Celtics to pull off, however. The 31-year-old is making $12.8 million this season on the second year of a three-year deal, so Boston would have to part with the injured Danilo Gallinari and at least one legitimate rotation player to make the salaries match.


The Celtics could sweeten the deal with draft picks, but Utah is already well-stocked with first-round picks after the Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell blockbusters -- and the C's are thin on draft assets anyway after dealing their 2023 pick for Malcolm Brogdon.

Boston could benefit from a big man to serve as insurance for Robert Williams and Al Horford or a wing to take the load off Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. But there's a risk in breaking up the team's core of rotation players, who are tight-knit and all under team control through at least next season, with the exception of Grant Williams.

If the Celtics identify a player they love who can be part of the team's long-term future (like Derrick White last season), it's worth taking a swing. But unless that's the case, they might be better off adding on the margins and not messing with this team's strong chemistry.

That would seem to rule out Olynyk, whom we'd imagine Ainge won't part with unless he gets a significant return.