The Boston Celtics reportedly completed a trade before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, sending swingman Jabari Bird to the Atlanta Hawks, league sources told Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes.
The Celtics also surrendered cash and will receive a protected second-round draft pick as part of the deal, a league source told Boston Sports Journal’s Brian Robb.
Bird, a second-round pick (No. 56 overall) in 2017, hasn’t appeared in a game this season after being arrested in September on domestic violence charges. The Hawks are expected to waive the 24-year-old after Thursday’s trade, which creates some possibilities for Boston.
The Celtics freed up a roster spot by trading Bird. They also saved some money, as Bird’s guaranteed salary would have cost a couple million dollars extra in luxury-tax penalties if he remained on Boston’s roster or had been waived, according to Robb.
It’s unclear what the Celtics will do with their newfound flexibility, but the extra roster spot allows Boston to be active in free agency or the buyout market moving forward this season. That’s significant because the Celtics didn’t make any other moves before Thursday’s deadline, while other Eastern Conference contenders — like the Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks — bolstered their rosters.
Boston’s biggest win of the day, however, revolves around Anthony Davis, whom the New Orleans Pelicans chose not to trade. The Celtics long have been linked to Davis, who recently requested a trade from the Pelicans, but they were prohibited from swinging a deal for the six-time All-Star until this offseason due to the NBA’s “Rose Rule.”
Now, with New Orleans keeping Davis beyond the deadline, Boston can aggressively pursue him this summer. The Celtics have a bunch of draft picks and several young players whom the Pelicans might find appealing, potentially paving the way for Boston to outbid the Los Angeles Lakers, among others.
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