What Traded Player Exception Is, How Celtics Can Use It In Offseason

The Celtics' largest TPE is $17.1 million


June 23

The term “traded player exception” has been mentioned on a number of occasions when discussing how the Boston Celtics can bring players in this offseason, but what is it exactly?

President of basketball operations Brad Stevens said in his Tuesday news conference he hopes to add more bench scoring and playmaking. One way Stevens can do this is through the team’s various traded player exceptions (TPEs). This means a team can acquire a player without the need to match salary.

TPEs are generally created when a team trades a player away without receiving any salary in return. The exception is often generated after a sign-and-trade deal.

NBC Sports’ Darren Hartwell notes the Gordan Hayward sign-and-trade deal with the Charlotte Hornets. The Celtics traded Hayward in the 2020 offseason, generating a $28.5 million TPE — the largest trade exception ever made.

What’s important to note about TPEs is they usually expire one year after they’re created, they can’t be combined with other TPEs — two separate $5 million TPEs can’t be combined together to acquire a $10 million player — and they can be used to acquire multiple players — a $20 million TPE, for example, can be used to acquire two players worth $10 million.

Boston currently has eight TPEs at its disposal. Five are worth less than $2.2 million. But the three big ones will be the most relevant, and those are worth $17.1 million, $6.9 million and $5.9 million. These exceptions were created in the Evan Fournier trade with the New York Knicks, the Juancho Hernangomez trade with the Memphis Grizzlies and Dennis Schroder trade with the Houston Rockets, respectively.

The largest TPE expires on July 18, so the Celtics will have to work swiftly to get a deal done — Boston are rumored to be in discussions about using the TPE to bring back Fournier to the Celtics. Boston have also been rumored to trade for Los Angeles Clippers guard Luke Kennard.

NBC Sports’ Chris Forsberg included Kennard as a player the Celtics could target with their TPE — meaning Boston can spend $17 million or less to acquire Kennard via trade without having to match his salary. Forsberg also named Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson and Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter as players who can helped bolster the Celtics’ scoring off the bench.

Hartwell noted players like Kennard’s teammate Norman Powell and emerging San Antonio Spurs star Dejounte Murray as other targets of the $17.1 million TPE.

The Celtics will have until Jan. 19, 2023 to use their $6.9 million TPE and Feb. 10, 2023 to use their $5.9 million TPE.

The Celtics will likely be facing issues with the salary cap — making signing free agents a difficult work around if Boston doesn’t want to go too over the limit of the cap. And TPEs are a great work around to acquire quality players without having to give up too much in return.

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