Could Celtics-Knicks Be Working On Trade Ahead Of NBA Draft?

New York wants Boston to help clear cap space

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The window to make trades before the NBA Draft is slowly closing, and the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks appear to be in talks about getting a move done.

According to John Gambadoro of arizonasports.com, New York reportedly has offered former Celtics wing Evan Fournier back to Boston for the traded player exception the team created when he left for the Knicks last summer.

This offer isn’t expected to gain much traction, as Fournier’s average annual pay ($18 million) exceeds Boston’s $17.2 million traded player exception, and the exception itself would run out before the Celtics were legally allowed to trade for a player that it had lost the offseason prior.

Despite that, the Celtics could still use the Knicks’ desperation for opening up cap room to swing a trade before the start of free agency, and even the draft.

New York wants to open up cap room to sign Dallas Mavericks point guard Jalen Brunson this offseason. A way in which they could do so, is by trading Alec Burks and his $10 million cap hit to Boston. The Celtics could take advantage of that desperation (and Burks’ recent foot surgery) by pushing for added draft compensation, whether in be in 2022 or beyond.

Far from a superstar player, Burks averaged 11 points and five rebounds off the bench for New York in 2021-22, but there is value in a player of his caliber. The 30-year old was extremely durable, playing in 81 games last season, and hit 40% of his attempts from 3-point range. With Boston’s TPE set to expire on July 18, it seems as though Burks may be their best option.

The NBA Draft is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday.

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