Report: Trail Blazers getting Enes Kanter as Celtics and Grizzlies complete draft-day trade
The Celtics traded the No. 30 pick (Desmond Bane) to the Grizzlies. For what? The question loomed even days after the NBA draft.
The finally revealed answer: To dump Enes Kanter, who exercised his $5,005,350 player option… and will join the Trail Blazers in a three-team trade.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Portland is acquiring Boston's Enes Kanter in a three-way deal with Memphis, sources tell ESPN. Memphis gets Mario Hezonjia and 30th pick (Desmond Bane) from draft night deal as part of trade too. Celtics get a future Memphis draft consideration.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 20, 2020
Kanter played well for the Trail Blazers two years ago, which is why he got this current contract from Boston. He should fit well in Portland, which had a trade exception, was already capped out and needed a backup center behind Jusuf Nurkic.
Boston already had Daniel Theis as starting center, hopes Robert Williams can developed into a reliable backup and trade possibilities at the position. Unloading Kanter gives the Celtics more breathing room below the luxury-tax line/hard cap (which they’d trigger by using the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, a possibility now that Gordon Hayward has opted out).
Getting the No. 30 pick for taking Mario Hezonja’s burdensome contract ($1,977,011 in his final season) would be an absolute heist for the Grizzlies. That suggests the draft consideration Memphis is sending Boston is significant – though not too, too significant. Though Hezonja carries negative value, he still has a minimum salary, after all.