Celtics avoid luxury tax, keep core intact in trio of deals
BOSTON (AP) — The Celtics had two goals ahead of the annual trade deadline: Get under the luxury-tax threshold and avoid shaking up their core eight-man rotation led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens succeeded at both.
Boston was one of the NBA’s busiest teams Thursday, trading seven role players and adding two in deals with Orlando, San Antonio and Houston during a flurry of transactions around the league. The moves helped the Celtics go from about $3 million over the salary cap when the day began to nearly $3.5 million under it when the 3 p.m. EST deadline arrived.
The Celtics will avoid getting hit with the “repeater tax” for being over the cap threshold in three out of four seasons.
To do it, the Celtics started the day by dealing injured guard PJ Dozier, big man Bol Bol and a future second-round pick to the Magic in exchange for a protected 2023 second-round pick.
Dozier and Bol came to Boston in January from Denver as part of a three-team trade that also involved San Antonio. Neither has seen action for the Celtics — Dozier is out for the season following surgery for a torn ligament in his left knee and Bol is recovering from right foot surgery.
Next, Boston sent swingman Josh Richardson and guard Romeo Langford along with a 2022 protected first-round pick to San Antonio in exchange for guard Derrick White.
The Celtics then ended their day by sending point guard Dennis Schroder and big men Enes Kanter Freedom and Bruno Fernando to the Rockets for Daniel Theis.
It left the Celtics (31-25), winners of a season-high six straight games and in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, down to just 10 players on their roster. They will now turn to free agents and the buyout market over the next few weeks to remake their bench as they prepare for the stretch run.
Theis was a favorite of Stevens when he was the Celtics’ coach, with Stevens lauding his ability to make his teammates better. The fact that he previously played alongside several members of Boston’s core should help him acclimate as he adjusts to new coach Ime Udoka’s system.
White is a young player who can play both guard positions and has shown an ability to knock down outside shots. If there’s a downside, it’s that he is in just the first season of the four-year, $70 million rookie extension he signed in San Antonio. If he isn’t a fit, it could again contribute to the Celtics being in a tough spot financially in a few seasons.
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