The Celtics this week swung a three-team trade with the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs that brought center Bol Bol and guard P.J. Dozier to Boston.
Boston sent Juancho Hernangomez to San Antonio as part of the deal, which won’t impact the Celtics right away but reportedly saved them about $3 million against the salary cap while also creating a $6.9 million traded player exception.
Bol currently is sidelined for two to three months with a foot injury. Dozier is out for the season with a torn ACL.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of factors,” Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” while explaining the move. “There’s some flexibility involved in that as we move forward here. Obviously, we’ve had P.J. here before, we know him well, and we like Bol’s upside. We knew that both weren’t going to play.”
Dozier, 25, appeared in six games with Boston during the 2018-19 season. He’s been with Denver the past three seasons.
Bol, meanwhile, had spent his entire three-year career in Denver, with the Nuggets using him sparingly off the bench. The 22-year-old is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, but at 7-foot-2, he’s an intriguing buy-low project for the Celtics.
“That actual deal was something that we had discussed for a while,” Stevens said.
The Nuggets recently agreed to trade Bol to the Detroit Pistons, but that deal was nixed after he failed his physical. Maybe the Pistons’ loss eventually will be the Celtics’ gain if all goes well in Bol’s rehab.
“We are able to evaluate him here, work with him here, spend time with him here, hopefully see him at the end of the season and/or work with him after the season before he hits restricted free agency,” Stevens said. “So, that’s a big part of it, right, is that he’s restricted and not going into free agency unrestricted.
“Anyway, there’s a lot of factors in that (trade) that made that deal what we thought was a really good deal for us — and really a deal that I thought made sense for all three teams.”
Obviously, this isn’t a deal that will turn Boston’s season around. But it represents the first domino in what could be an active NBA trade deadline for the Celtics, even they don’t necessarily make a franchise-altering splash before the Feb. 10 cutoff.