Could Celtics Benefit From New-Look Hawks, Spurs After Dejounte Murray Trade?

Murray to Atlanta might mean Kevin Huerter is available

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The Boston Celtics weren’t able to land a dream target with the Evan Fournier traded player exception, but Dejounte Murray being dealt to the Atlanta Hawks still could impact the Green.

The San Antonio Spurs sent the 25-year-old NBA All-Star to the Hawks in a draft-heavy deal that also included veteran Danilo Gallinari.

The trickle-down effects of the trade could create opportunities for many teams around the league, including the Celtics. The Hawks have added another dynamic guard to complement Trae Young, pushing all others down the depth chart, while the rebuilding Spurs took on a 33-year-old veteran with no intention of competing.

Among those who could be impacted is Atlanta guard Kevin Huerter.

Huerter, 23, is more expendable given that Atlanta now has another player on the wing. He was thought to be a potential fit for the Celtics even before the Murray trade given that the 2018 first-round would fit into Boston’s $17.1 million traded player exception. Huerter’s four-year, $65 million contract — he’s owed $14.5 million in 2022-23 — will go into effect next season.

Huerter is coming off his fourth season in the NBA when he averaged 12.1 points while shooting a career-best 38.9% from long range. He’s known for his shooting prowess but is a versatile offensive player who’s averaged 12 points in his last three seasons. Huerter, unlike some other shooters, is a fine defender with his size of 6-foot-7 and 190 pounds. Boston reportedly had discussed a trade for Huerter before the NBA trade deadline.

Fellow Hawks wing Bogdan Bogdanovic seemingly would be another suitor for the Celtics, but if Boston had its choice it likely would be inclined to go with Huerter. Bogdanovic, 29, is six years older than Huerter and would not fit into the Evan Fournier TPE as he’s set to earn $18 million in the upcoming season. Huerter also has two additional years under contract at less money.

Another player who could be further impacted in the Murray trade is none other than Gallinari.

Gallinari, entering his age-34 season, now arrives in San Antonio with the Spurs clearly ramping up their rebuild. It doesn’t make much sense for either party to remain together given the organization is doing everything it can to stockpile picks.

There have been multiple reports indicating the Celtics are interested in signing Gallinari if San Antonio waives him. Gallinari’s arrival to Boston, though, may be limited to that buyout option as he would not fit into the Fournier TPE. Gallinari is under contract for the 2022-23 season at a partially guaranteed $21 million.

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