Which Players Can Boston Celtics Acquire With Their Whopping $28.5 Million Traded Player Exception?

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December 1, 2020 10:00 pm

This offseason has given us a lot of good news but also some shocks. One of these shocks was when Gordon Hayward signed a lucrative $120 million deal of four years with the Charlotte Hornets. While we were under the assumption that Hayward was going to go with the Indiana Pacers or New York Knicks, this wasn’t an easy pill to swallow. Several Boston Celtics’ fans showed their discontent with Hayward’s decision on social media.

However, this deal is very useful for the Celtics in the future. By trading Gordon’s contract to the Hornets, they have formed the largest TPE or traded player exception in the NBA’s history. This TPE is equal to Hayward’s first-year salary of approximately $28.5 million and thus, it can be utilized to bring in any player or players that hold the same value plus $100,000.

They can use this asset within the first year of the transaction. This means before the 2021 free agency kicks in, they should be ready with what they want to do with it.

So, how will Danny Ainge make the most of this acquisition?

Boston Celtics no longer have a shot at Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal enters at the 67th NBA All-Star Game: Team LeBron Vs. Team Stephen at Staples Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage) via Getty Images

As soon as the Celtics and Hornets shook on Hayward’s deal, fans had wondered if this meant that the Washington Wizards‘ Bradley Beal was up for grabs or not. However, this thought was crushed as soon as Hayward’s salary came right under Beal’s $28.7 million in 2020-21.

Who can be their next target?

With Beal out of the picture, Boston will have to search for their star elsewhere. Some All-Stars that could fit in this TPE are Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert, Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell, etc. Although the Celtics will have to pull a lot of strings, these are the financially available options.

But Gobert might be the one player in the above list who will be available, as he will be an unrestricted free agent next year. Therefore, being the most viable option for them financially.

Another prospect might be Pacers’ Victor Oladipo, who will be making $21 million in the upcoming season. The Celtics won’t need to pay a penny to add him to their roster. But the Pacers might want more than just draft picks for Oladipo.

NEW YORK, USA – JANUARY 11: Victor Oladipo (4) of Indiana Pacers in action during the NBA match between Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York, United States on January 11, 2019. (Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Nobody as exciting as Victor Oladipo

The shooting guard for Sacramento Kings, Buddy Hield, can be part of the next tier or possibilities. His salary of $24.9 million fits well under their budget.  Even the Orlando Magic are quite active during trade discussions with the possibility that Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross, and Evan Fournier might be available too. However, none of them match the value Oladipo might bring to the Celtics.

The unexpected star

April 23, 2015: New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) during game 3 of the first round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There were plenty of rumors about the Celtics being a potential landing spot for Jrue Holiday. However, the New Orleans Pelicans’ superstar was sent off to the Milwaukee Bucks. Is it possible that Jrue might not enjoy playing for the Bucks? If he doesn’t he can also opt-out of his $26.3 million next year.

Either all this or the Celtics just might let this TPE pass without bagging something big. What do you think Ainge should do?

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Yashima Bhatia

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked. Her interest for the game transitioned into her love for writing the sport. Previously, she has had experience as a scriptwriter for short films and a freelance photographer.

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