OK, Danny Ainge. Let's get crazy.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics are showing interest in doing a three-team sign-and-trade involving the Hornets and Nets in order to create a full Mid-Level Exception in free agency. Talks are exploratory at the moment,
The deal would include the Celtics sending Terry Rozier to the Hornets, Kyrie Irving to the Nets and getting Kemba Walker in return. Walker and Irving are both set to sign with the Celtics and Nets respectively anyway. Woj also includes that the Celtics would probably need to include a first round pick to incentivize each team to cooperate with them in a deal.
It's a complicated move that would involve a ton of moving parts, but if Ainge is able to pull it off it would give him a more useful tool to build a frontcourt around Walker and co. With Walker signed to a max contract, the Celtics would have a $4.8 million room exception along with veteran minimum exceptions to fill out the roster. The Mid-Level-Exception is worth $9.2 million, so it would be much easier to sign a free agent to start at center with more money.
One thing that isn't mentioned is the Al Horford variable. According to NBA executives, the Celtics are Horford's "mystery team" in free agency, and a three-team deal like this would allow Boston to retain Horford's bird rights and bring him back on any contract he wants. With the addition of Walker, Horford would be the last piece to turn Boston back into a contender following Irving's exit.
As Woj said, talks are exploratory and the Celtics will really have to incentivize the Nets to cooperate on a deal like this, but it looks like Ainge won't stop with the Walker signing. He might be on to something big.
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