It was an overall quiet day for the Celtics at the trade deadline compared to other East contenders, but Boston did manage to open up a roster spot at the bottom of its depth chart by dealing away swingman Jabari Bird to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal that was first reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Boston gave up cash and will receive a protected second-round pick as part of the deal, according to a league source. Bird will also be waived after being received from the Hawks.
Bird has been away from the team for the entire season after his arrest in September. He agreed to a two-year deal in July with the first year of the deal fully guaranteed for this season. He signed for the rookie minimum, but his salary would have cost Boston a couple million dollars extra in luxury tax penalties if he remained on the roster or had been waived since his salary was guaranteed. By getting him off the books now via trade, the Celtics managed to dodge a couple million dollars in penalties due to the tax. They also free up a roster spot that they can use to pursue a free agent on what is expected to be a crowded buyout market (more on that later).
The most important development of the day from Boston's perspective though is the fact that Anthony Davis has stayed put in New Orleans, leaving the door open for the Celtics to deal for the big man this summer. The Pelicans turned down repeated overtures from the Lakers earlier this week and no other team came up with an offer enticing enough for the Pelicans to turn down a chance to let Boston into the bidding this summer.