Celtics

NBA Notebook: Why the Celtics might want to use their disabled player exception this week

mark baer/usa today sports

Despite the loss of Gordon Hayward on opening night, the Celtics have stayed quiet on the trade rumor front for now. That’s quite understandable for a team that’s jumped out to the league’s best record over the first 24 games of the season. Why mess with a good thing?

However, the start of December usually coincides with trade business picking up across the league. It’s doubtful that the Celtics would move anyone on the team’s current roster just yet given how well things have gone over the past two months, but that won’t be necessary this year for them to make a move. The Celtics still hold a $8.4 million disabled player exception that lets them to absorb an expiring contract of that size without matching the money. Essentially, it allows the Celtics to trade a draft pick for a big salary, a luxury they would not have without the DPE as a team that’s over the salary cap.

Danny Ainge confirmed to Toucher and Rich on 98.5 the Sports Hub on Thursday morning that the front office had been doing its due diligence on potential moves.

“We’re in conversations with people all the time. [The DPE] is a valuable thing,” said Ainge. “And yet it might not be used if we don’t need it. We’re not gonna just use it to use it…Most likely, the better deals will be later in the season.”

Ainge is right when he says better deals will be available later in the season. Most teams around the league aren’t in sell mode just yet, and asking prices obviously come down the closer you get to the trade deadline. There’s also the prospect of the buyout market, and maintaining the $8.4 million DPE to use on a free agent there (if it’s not used in a trade before then) is a pretty valuable weapon in the bidding process. The C’s won’t want to sacrifice that ability unless a strong trade can be found.

With that said, it’s important to keep a close eye on the trade winds this week because December 8th marks an important date for the C’s when it comes to potential dealing: two months until the NBA trade deadline. Why does that matter? NBA trade rules dictate that a player acquired can only be re-aggregated (i.e. traded again in a multiple-player trade) two months after they are originally acquired. So what exactly does that mean for Boston?