Celtics

Should the Celtics target Will Barton on NBA buyout market?

Celtics
Will Barton

Might the Boston Celtics add a player on the NBA buyout market, after all?

The Celtics have been bystanders since the NBA trade deadline as Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and other high-profile buyout candidates have signed elsewhere. On Tuesday afternoon, however, another player hit the open market when veteran wing Will Barton completed a buyout with the Washington Wizards, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Barton will be eligible to sign with any team once he clears waivers, and there's reason for the Celtics to be interested.

Boston could use extra wing depth behind superstar Jayson Tatum, who ranks fourth in the NBA in total minutes played, and Jaylen Brown, who has missed the Celtics' last four games while recovering from a facial fracture. While Sam Hauser broke out of a shooting slump before the All-Star break, the C's could benefit from adding a proven veteran like Barton, who averaged 14.7 points 4.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game for the Denver Nuggets last season.

Barton is a versatile playmaker and capable defender at 6-foot-6 and was Denver's starting shooting guard in the 2022 postseason, so he'd be a nice pickup for the Celtics. This deal is hardly a slam dunk, however.

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For starters, Barton would have to accept a much smaller role in Boston, where eight players -- Tatum, Brown, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Al Horford, Grant Williams, Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon -- all play significant minutes when healthy. (That's not even mentioning Hauser and Payton Pritchard.) Barton would need to adopt a mindset similar to that of Brogdon, who was willing to accept a bench role this season despite being a starter for most of his career.

 

The Celtics also have strong chemistry with their current group, so president of basketball operations Brad Stevens and head coach Joe Mazzulla would have to view him as a good locker room fit as well.

But team owner Wyc Grousbeck has made clear that he wants the Celtics to whatever it takes to win a championship this season, and Barton is a proven commodity who would could provide scoring and playmaking off the bench to bolster Boston's already-strong second unit.