The NBA’s trade season already is here, and to no one’s surprise, the rumors are irrationally spreading.
Dec. 15 marked the point in the 2019-20 season where the majority of offseason signees become trade eligible, essentially kickstarting rumor season around the league. The Celtics have been tossed into some murmurs of late, with one of the most popular theories being the potential acquisition of Steven Adams.
Sorry to rain on the parade, but it’s not happening.
Sure, the Oklahoma City Thunder center certainly would help the Celtics’ frontcourt issues, especially with the recent injuries of Robert Williams and Vincent Poirier hampering their interior depth. Yes, it’s fun to get excited about trade rumors, but buying into this particular one is, well, lazy.
Let’s begin with this quote from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst: “Boston has made it clear to anyone who has asked that their core players are absolutely not available. That includes, sources said, both Hayward and Smart, players who have been floated as possible trade chips in the past.”
Now Steven Adams is set to make $25.8 million and $27.5 million over the next two seasons, respectively. From a salary-cap matching perspective, if Boston is unwilling to part ways with its core, namely Smart or Hayward, the math simply won’t work if the two sides are trying to get a deal done. Other than Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, Smart and Hayward, the Celtics have just two players (Enes Kanter at $4.8M, Daniel Theis at $5M) that make more than $4 million.
Kanter and Theis is not enough money to target a player like Adams, or Kevin Love for that matter, without the likes of Hayward or Smart being included in the deal. For the small group willing to die on the “include Theis in a trade” hill, he cannot be dealt until Jan. 15. Also, why are you on that hill?
Bottom line here: It’s going to be very difficult for the Celtics to make a significant trade this season to improve their frontcourt. The buyout market likely could become a target as the season goes on, but let’s get one thing clear — Steven Adams is not coming to Boston this season.