The Celtics apparently pursued all three marquee players who were moved by the Magic on Thursday.
Boston acquired Evan Fournier from Orlando in exchange for two second-round picks and Jeff Teague. Many thought the C’s also might reel in Aaron Gordon from the Magic, but the star forward landed with the Denver Nuggets.
Nikola Vucecic, whose trade to the Chicago Bulls kickstarted the pre-deadline frenzy, also was on the Celtics’ radar, according to The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. Himmselbach reports Boston’s offer to Orlando in exchange for Vucevic included multiple first-round picks. The Bulls gave up Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr. and two first-rounders to land the two-time All-Star.
Carter is better than any young player the Celtics likely would have been open to moving in a trade. C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge on Friday noted Boston did not consider including Marcus Smart in any potential deals.
Vucevic also would have been a serious addition for the Celtics in terms of financials. The 30-year-old, who is signed through the 2022-23 season, is on the hook for $26 million this season and is set to make $24 million and $22 million in the final two years of his deal, respectively.
The star big man winding up in the Windy City could end up coming back to bite Boston. The Bulls only trail the Celtics — the current eighth seed in East — by 1 1/2 games in the conference standings.