With the clocking ticking for Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens before the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline, two options remain on the table: One, Stevens rides out the remainder of the year with the current shape of the roster, or two, Boston makes a swap ahead of the All-Star break.
With 51 games behind them and a league-best 36-15 record thus far, the Celtics haven’t given Stevens much reason to dial the phone and make some calls. They’ve already proven to be capable of overcoming an abrupt excess of setbacks before the year, which all began with the trainwreck of former head coach Ime Udoka. Now, while Boston has dropped three of its last four — with their one win coming in controversial fashion against the Los Angeles Lakers — Stevens’ deadline approach remains up for question.
The Athletic’s Jay King presented a crew of potential front-court targets, which included Mason Plumlee, Jae’sean Tate, PJ Washington, Chris Boucher and one familiar name to many Celtics fans.
Here’s what King wrote:
Based on my calculations, a package of (Danilo) Gallinari, (Blake) Griffin and (Justin) Jackson would fall shy of reaching the NBA trade limit for matching (Kelly) Olynyk’s salary, so the Celtics would need to add further money to the offer. That could be a deal breaker for Boston, which would then need to include Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser or (Luke) Kornet in the swap.
Considering the Celtics have a stronger defensive — and overall big man — in Robert Williams, coupled with the fact that Al Horford’s offensive arsenal at 36 years old is stronger than Olynyk’s, perhaps Stevens should hold off on this one.
Olynyk, 31, spent his first four NBA seasons with the Celtics after Boston acquired the Gonzaga big man through a draft night trade in 2013. The veteran is best remembered for his improbable heroism during Game 7 against the Washington Wizards in the 2017 Eastern Conference semifinals — his fifth-to-final game in Boston. Olynyk scored 26 points and shot 71.4% from the field en route to a season-saving series win.
Following stints with the Miami Heat, Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons, Olynyk landed with the Utah Jazz during the offseason. Through 40 starts this season, Olynyk has averaged 11.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting a career-high 50% from the field and 41.4% from 3-point range. He has two years remaining — including this season — on his contract with an annual salary of over $12 million before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2024.