Report: Celtics ‘strongly expected’ to make a move ahead of deadline

Report: Celtics ‘strongly expected’ to make a move ahead of deadline originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics are strongly expected to make a move ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline, multiple league sources told Brian Robb of MassLive.

The reported news of Boston’s willingness to be active in the trade market came after Sunday’s decision to guarantee four Celtics’ contracts — Luke Kornet, Dalano Banton, Lamar Stevens, and Svi Mykhailiuk.

While Kornet’s guarantee will come as no surprise as he’s played meaningful rotation minutes this season, the Celtics primarily use Banton, Stevens, and Mykhailiuk if the team is shorthanded or on the right side of a blowout. Kornet, who has been used situationally this season by Boston coach Joe Mazzulla, is averaging 14.2 minutes per game, logging 5.1 points and 3.7 rebounds.

Retaining the four non-guaranteed contracts puts the Celtics deeper into the luxury tax bill, showing fans that they aren’t afraid to spend money to win.

A source also told MassLive that the C’s willingness to guarantee the four contracts is not a guarantee that those four players will stay in Boston this season. The four contracts give the Celtics flexibility in negotiations and salary matching, allowing Boston to package multiple league minimum contract players with another rostered player for a more expensive player, thanks to the $6.2 million trade exception left from Grant Williams‘ sign and trade to the Dallas Mavericks.

Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens spoke on possible trade rumors last week, indicating he’d like to bring in a “big wing” to help push them forward.

“There’s not a lot we can do big without touching our main guys,” Stevens clarified of any potential trades, hinting that the core is untouchable. “I don’t know if it will be a game-changer.”

Currently at the top of the league’s standings with a 28-7 record, the Celtics won’t be looking to rush into any moves. The roster they have works as-is, so there is no need to force a trade just for the sake of making one. NBA insiders Zach Lowe and Tim Bontemps of ESPN mentioned wings John Konchar of the Memphis Grizzlies and Cedi Osman of the San Antonio Spurs as realistic trade targets that fit within or come very close to Williams’ TPE.

Konchar is in the middle of his fifth season, averaging 4.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 17.1 minutes per game in his career. The 6-foot-5 wing may not get any minutes in Memphis, but his ability to stay ready and consistent across his sporadic minutes is something that could be appealing to Boston. The Celtics’ main rotation is likely locked down, so any new players would be used situationally. Konchar would give Boston a big wing who can hit 3-pointers at a respectable 36.7 percent on his career.

Now in his seventh season, Osman is a bit more experienced compared to Konchar. The 28-year-old spent the first six years of his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, playing under LeBron James in his rookie season. With the Spurs towards the bottom of the table with a 5-30 record, San Antonio may part ways with Osman, who has averaged 9.6 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game, converting on 42.9 percent of his shots from the field and 32.4 percent from deep.