As the 2023 NBA trade deadline draws to within a month, interest in shaking up the rosters of one’s favorite ball clubs is becoming an increasingly popular pastime among fans of the Boston Celtics and the other 29 teams in the league.
Analysts of the league are fanning the flames to help with the proliferation of trade ideas with their own suggestions, and on top of the cadre of players who became available for trades on the unofficial start of this year’s trade season on December 15, we will see a new batch of players become available for trades on January 15 after limits on their being dealt for deals signed in the offseason lifts.
Our friends over at our sister site Hoops Hype’s podcast of the same name Michael Scotto and Yossi Gozlan put together a list of the best such players coming available tomorrow.
While some of the bigger names like Zach LaVine Bradley Beal, and Deandre Ayton are likely beyond what Boston would consider, a trio of players they note might be the sort of options the Celtics might pursue if they look to make a bigger move ahead of this year’s February trade deadline.
Let’s dive into the three who could make sense for Boston.
Mo Bamba – center – Orlando Magic
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“When the Magic signed Mo Bamba to a two-year deal, which included a non-guaranteed second season, several people around the league viewed him as a potential trade chip to be flipped later once Orlando would eventually have to consolidate its roster,” offers Scotto.
If Boston wanted to feel more comfortable with its big man depth, Bamba’s contract size at $10.3 million would require moving on from Danilo Gallinari to make salaries work, but the non-guarantee for next season offers some insurance in case it went poorly.
With 3 seconds to burn in this year’s draft, Boston could field a solid offer if they included Payton Pritchard in a deal Scotto doesn’t see the Magic getting a first for, but this is probably among the less likely of the three options discussed by H/H that could be plausible if both team’s interests align.
Chris Boucher – forward – Toronto Raptors
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“There’s a belief from some around the league that Toronto will be more active in trade talks around mid-January,” shares Scotto, which makes sense given, as Gozlan notes, the team looks “like they need to sort things out with their core with so many of their starters due for raises soon.”
The former believes it would require a blockbuster deal to pry the almost-30 big man loose, and he isn’t an ideal fit for Boston, but given he can play either big man position, Boston getting involved could make sense for the right price.
But the fact that it would take a multi-team deal or a 3-for-1 trade for Boston has us thinking this is the least likely of the three mentioned by H/H.
Cody Martin – forward – Charlotte Hornets
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Gozlan believes the Hornets will be sellers at the deadline, and while not motivated to move Martin, the right package could get them to consider a trade.
“He’s on a great contract making around $8 million a year, with the fourth year non-guaranteed,” he relates; would an offer sending a decent second-round pick plus Pritchard get the deal done?
While Martin, as Gozlan notes, fits the Hornets’ timeline, Pritchard fits it even better at 21 years old and might be able to offer some spacing Charlotte sorely lacks.
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Of the three best trade candidates discussed by the Hoops Hype duo who will become available to be traded as of Jan. 15, we aren’t especially blown away by any of the options.
We think it more likely that any trade action emanating from Boston’s front office will come from the pool of players available now — and will likely be closer to the veteran’s minimum than these sorts of players given the importance of chemistry among the Celtics’ better-paid players.
Listen to the “Celtics Lab” podcast on:
Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3zBKQY6
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