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Report: Trail Blazers getting Enes Kanter as Celtics and Grizzlies complete draft-day trade

Celtics center Enes Kanter vs. Trail Blazers

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 02: Enes Kanter #11 of the Boston Celtics looses the ball while under pressure from Mario Hezonja #44 and Jusuf Nurkic #27 of the Portland Trail Blazers at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 02, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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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:

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.