Brad Stevens Turning Lemons Into Lemonade (And TPEs) For Celtics

Evan Fournier walked, but not for nothing


Aug 17, 2021

The acquisition of Evan Fournier at last year’s NBA trade deadline wasn’t all for nothing, even if he walked after just 16 games with the Celtics.

It was revealed Tuesday that the Boston Celtics got the New York Knicks to agree to a sign-and-trade for the veteran wing, sending over two second-round picks (one is a top-55 heavily protected pick) in return for cash considerations.

Most importantly, it created a $17.1 million traded player exception. The Celtics used a TPE from Gordon Hayward’s departure to acquire Fournier in the first place, so here we are. Full circle.

Brad Stevens keeps turning lemons into lemonade. And now, TPEs.

Former Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge loved draft picks. It appears his successor is more fond of TPEs than second-rounders, though.

Stevens now has some more potential cap flexibility for next offseason, something the team publicly covets and especially needs after extending Marcus Smart on a well-deserved four-year, $77 million deal.

The latest TPE adds to the two Boston already had. The Celtics created a $5 million TPE after dealing Daniel Theis and a $9.7 million TPE from trading Tristan Thompson. These three can’t be combined, but certainly aren’t worthless.

All that to say, Stevens is doing quite well in getting out of the general managing nightmare he inherited. A major priority for him was to address the bench depth, gain financial flexibility and deal with the unfortunate reality that the Celtics had to trade or extend Smart.

The first move he made to shed Kemba Walker’s giant salary and in turn, he added the veteran presence and versatility of Al Horford.

Josh Richardson added ballhandling depth and defense, as did Kris Dunn and Dennis Schröder. Trade out Fournier, Thompson, and Semi Ojeleye for those mentioned above as well as Enes Kanter, Bruno Fernando and some money to play with next free agency, all while giving the heart and soul of your team the contract he deserves?

Just months ago many doomed the Celtics to Hell for the way things played out with Kyrie Irving, and then Horford and Hayward, and the failed attempt to patch the pieces together as best as Ainge could in the aftermath.

But this is a new era. And so far, so good with Stevens.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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