The NBA trade deadline has come and gone with Danny Ainge setting the table to make an addition to the Celtics roster after dealing away Jabari Bird to the Atlanta Hawks. The Celtics have their prorated mid-level exception (roughly $4.7 million) to spend on a free agent they feel might fit the roster but their primary motivation may go beyond just talent. It’s highly possible the addition will be motivated by future trade possibilities since adding a player on a two-year deal would open the door for said player to be included for salary matching purposes in an Anthony Davis offer this summer.
Sources indicate to BostonSportsJournal.com that type of deal is more likely to be a priority for the Celtics in the coming weeks but the challenge will be for the team to find a type of player willing to accept that kind of an offer. Can Ainge find a player that boosts this team depth and is willing to give their own free agency next year for about $4.5 million or so? Here are a number of names that should be on the open market in the coming days and some thoughts on whether they could help Boston achieve those goals.
Unlikely additions unless they are willing to sacrifice playing time
Enes Kanter: The Celtics have already been linked to the big man, according to one report by ESPN but a look at the wording of said report is important. Ian Begley says opposing executives think the Celtics will target him but if Kanter wants to play, it’s hard to find him being a strong fit here, unless Aron Baynes is going to be out for a longer stretch than anticipated. I’d expect him to be looking for a way to build his value heading into free agency and this probably isn’t the best place for him to do that. However, if Celtics are commited to resting Horford more down the stretch, this is a possibility. Adding another rebounder couldn't hurt either, even though Kanter's defense is horrendous in the pick-and-roll.
Wayne Ellington: The Celtics have plenty of capable wings off the bench but adding another pure sharpshooter to the mold would be a boost for nights Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown or Terry Rozier are struggling. Lots of teams need more shooting though and plenty of them will be offering more minutes than Boston. Celtics can throw big money at Ellington but that’s probably not enough to get him to sign a two-year deal.
They won’t play much/at all but could take the two-year deal and money to help with an AD trade