Six Players Brad Stevens, Celtics Should Target With Evan Fournier TPE

Boston's $17.1 million TPE will expire July 18


June 28

If the Boston Celtics want to add an impactful player to the group which just reached the NBA Finals, they almost certainly will have to do so using the Evan Fournier traded player exception.

Fournier’s TPE of $17.1 million will expire July 18, putting pressure on for the Celtics to use it with less than three weeks remaining.

Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens explained Boston’s goals are to improve the bench while also finding a player who can help facilitate the offense. Boston’s best chance to address those needs, and thus complement Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, will be to add a player making less than $17 million.

Here are a few players who the Celtics should target:

Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs 25-year-old point guard would be an ideal fit given Boston’s need for more playmaking, along with his size and defensive prowess. But it’s likely that Murray, who fits into the exception as he’s on the books next season for $16.5 million, would cost Boston a pretty penny in a trade. The former first-rounder still has two years left on his current contract and averaged career bests of 21.1 points, 9.2 assists and 8.3 rebounds last season. Sure, it’d be a home run, but it’s possible the Celtics opt to go in another direction given that Murray might cost more than others on this list.

Luke Kennard, Los Angeles Clippers
Kennard, 26, has been linked to the Celtics with the Clippers reportedly making the sharpshooter available on the open market. Kennard, who led the NBA in 3-point shooting last season by converting a career-best 44.9% of his six attempts per game, has two years left on his contract with a club option for the 2024-25 season. Kennard will carry cap hits in the neighborhood of $15 million each of the next three seasons. Known for his ability as a shooter, Kennard, standing at 6-foot-5 and 206 pounds, has improved on the defensive end.

Kyle Kuzma, Washington Wizards
Kuzma, who is under contract for $13 million each of the next two seasons, would provide the Celtics some much-needed scoring off the bench. Entering his age-27 season, Kuzma averaged 17.1 points per game on 45% shooting from the field in Washington while providing size at 6-foot-9 and 221 pounds. And that was after playing alongside LeBron James for three seasons with the Lakers.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Washington Wizards (Update: KCP reportedly has been traded to the Denver Nuggets)
Another member of the Wizards. KCP would be another great fit with the Celtics, perhaps even better than Kuzma, given his skillset. Caldwell-Pope would provide shot-making off the bench while still having the ability to guard multiple positions in Boston’s switch-happy defense. KCP, 29, is under contract for the 2022-23 season at a non-guaranteed $14 million but will become a free agent after next season. He also has played off stars like LeBron, indicating he should be able to do the same with Brown and Tatum.

Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks
Huerter, 23, reportedly was a player of interest for the Celtics before the NBA trade deadline. The 2018 first-round pick will earn $14.5 million next season as his four-year, $65 million contract goes into effect. Huerter started 60 games for the Hawks last season, but could be used more off the bench in Boston, arguably his best role. Huerter shot 38.9% from 3-point range last season while averaging 12 points per game over the last three campaigns. Offering some size at 6-foot-7 and 190 pounds, Huerter is a fine defender and would space the floor.

Alec Burks, New York Knicks (Update: Burks has been traded to the Detroit Pistons)
The Celtics reportedly have shown some level of interest in Burks already. The biggest aspect regarding a potential acquisition of Burks is in regards to his health as he recently had foot surgery. The 11-year veteran essentially would be on two-year, $20 million contract. Burks played the last two seasons with the Knicks and averaged 12.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists on 40% shooting from the floor and 40% from behind the arc. He would provide the bench with some depth and seems to be among those who could be available.

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