NBA rumors: Could Celtics target Tristan Thompson on buyout market?

NBA rumors: Could Celtics target Tristan Thompson on buyout market?

The Boston Celtics didn't make a move ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline, but that doesn't mean their roster is completely finished.

The buyout market is the last place for contending teams to upgrade their rosters before the playoffs, and a few quality players could find themselves available in the coming weeks.

One of the most intriguing players who could be bought out is Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson. The Cavs reportedly made Thompson available before the trade deadline but couldn't find a suitor for the 28-year-old center. Cleveland made a surprising move before the deadline to acquire Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond, who's pretty similar to Thompson skill-wise. Therefore, Drummond's presence makes Thompson pretty expendable.

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Would the Celtics be interested in Thompson if he's bought out? ESPN's Brian Windhorst discussed that scenario during Thursday's episode of "The Jump".

A buyout of Thompson is not guaranteed, however. The Athletic's David Aldridge reported Thursday that Thompson won't be bought out. It's worth noting things could change, but the decision ultimately is Cleveland's.

Thompson is averaging 11.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game for the Cavaliers this season. He's a very good rebounder, he's a quality interior defender, and he would give the Celtics another big body to defend the likes of Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid in a potential playoff series. 

The Celtics don't have a glaring weakness on their roster, and that's why not making a trade before Thursday's deadline isn't a huge deal. Adding some depth in the frontcourt through the buyout wouldn't hurt, though, and Thompson would be an ideal target for Boston if he becomes available.

NBA trade deadline live: Tracking latest updates, news

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of the NBA trade deadline. Thursday at 7 p.m., tune into our Celtics Trade Deadline Special with Mike, Kyle, Scal, Chris & Sherrod plus an interview with Danny Ainge.

Classic Celtics: C's outlast Michael Jordan's Bulls in 1986 playoff thriller

Classic Celtics: C's outlast Michael Jordan's Bulls in 1986 playoff thriller

Want to witness one of the greatest individual performances in NBA history? Just tune into NBC Sports Boston on Sunday night.

Our "Classic Celtics" series -- which featured Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals on Friday night -- continues Sunday with a throwback: Game 2 of Boston's 1986 NBA playoffs first-round series with the Chicago Bulls.

That April 20, 1986, game at TD Garden was a defining moment for then-23-year-old Michael Jordan, who went off for an NBA postseason-record 63 points.

But Celtics fans can appreciate Jordan's masterful performance knowing that Boston outlasted Chicago 135-131 in double overtime and swept the series en route to an eventual NBA title.

The broadcast begins Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, and as an added bonus, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge -- who scored 24 points in this game while defending Jordan -- will join Brian Scalabrine to provide real-time commentary throughout the game.

Other reasons to watch:

- A vintage performance from Celtics star Larry Bird, who scored a team-high 36 points to go along with 12 rebounds and eight assists.

- The 1980s Celtics at their peak: Bird, Ainge, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson and Bill Walton all scored double figures.

- Jordan hitting two free throws in the final seconds of regulation to force the first overtime.

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NBA Rumors: Execs expect Gordon Hayward to opt in to $34 million Celtics contract

NBA Rumors: Execs expect Gordon Hayward to opt in to $34 million Celtics contract

Gordon Hayward was enjoying his best season as a Boston Celtic before the 2019-20 season came to a screeching halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Through 45 games, the 30-year-old forward was averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. Hayward's performance was setting himself up for a solid contract if he were to opt out of his contract and hit free agency this summer.

That scenario doesn't appear likely, however.

According to Heavy.com, NBA executives expect Hayward to exercise his $34 million player option.

'It’s too much money to pass up,' one general manager told Heavy.com. 'He could get a longer deal if that is what he really wants. But I don’t think the Celtics want to give it to him, they have a lot of young guys to pay and the starting (salary) number on whatever the contract is will not be close to $34 million. He can opt in this year and then take a big contract next year. When you look at what he has done since his injury, he has only gotten better. He could get better next year and be ready for the summer of 2021.'

That doesn't exactly come as a surprise. Hayward may get a nice contract if he were to hit the open market this year, but it certainly wouldn't be anywhere near that eye-popping $34 million figure.

It makes far more sense for Hayward to take his money and test the market in 2021 if he and the Celtics don't agree on an extension before then. The 2021 free agent class will be much deeper, and teams will have more cap space to give Hayward a sizable long-term deal. That is, if he can duplicate the kind of success he's enjoyed so far this season.