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The Brad Stevens Heater Rolls On, This Time He Created A $17M Trade Exception For Losing Evan Fournier

Stay hot Brad Stevens! First he got off Kemba's deal without giving up future 1sts and brought back a player that helps both in terms of fit and financial flexibility moving forward. Then he brought in Juhann who has shown flashes as an 18 year old in Vegas. Then he got rid of a player who didn't fit, brought in some good depth pieces and created a $9M TPE asset he could use to improve his roster down the line. Then he didn't let the Hayward TPE expire and brought in a player on an expiring deal who should help their depth.He got Kanter back on the minimum. Then he landed Dennis Schroder for essentially nothing. Then he re-signed Marcus Smart to a 4 year extension. And now, after having the stones to not match Evan Fournier's deal, instead of letting that player walk out the door for nothing, he's created another sizable TPE for him to use for the next calendar year. Sure it cost him some measly second round picks but whoooooo cccaaaaaaaarrrrreeeeeesssssss about that shit. 

All in all, not so bad! For this being his first summer in charge, he's largely knocked this shit out of the park. More importantly, we as fans get to keep the TPE dream alive. You all remember how fun that was this past year with the Hayward TPE. I'll be honest, I'm a little confused as to why the Knicks, who are in the Celts division, would do anything that could potentially help Brad improve his roster when they had the cap space to simply bring in Fournier outright, but whatever! 

This now means we can play our favorite game of who the Celts can fit into this new $17M TPE. Remember, a sign and trade still hard caps them so I would consider that pretty unlikely. That means guys like Lauri Markkanen most likely aren't going to be part of this exercise. Just like we did with the Hayward one we should look at two groups of people: Expiring contracts and players with 2 years left. As we know, anyone with 2 years left on their deal will be more expensive (think Harrison Barnes this past year). Let's have a look

Expiring Players

OK, at this stage of the season it's hard to really predict what they'll need, but there are names here that interest me that were too large for the Thompson $9M TPE that could be available over the course of this season. Names like

Thad Young

Robert Covington

Jeremy Lamb

TJ Warren

Kyle Anderson

are some interesting options. It feels like everyone on the Pacers is always available every summer, and if they have another down year, maybe they are looking to shed some guys to assets rather than pay them this summer. Thad Young is a weird fit on the Spurs given his age and their timeline, and I think we all have been in on Kyle Anderson for a while now. These are teams that you would think could actually be sellers at the trade deadline given the conference they play in.

2 Years Left

With everything the Rockets have done this summer, are we sure Christian Wood is for sure a lock to stay on that team? I'm also looking at someone like Larry Nance Jr. You get mixed reports about him coming out of CLE which makes me think for the right price maybe you can pry him free. Remember, with these guys since they have multiple years left you're giving up real assets. I'm talking a young player you probably don't want to trade and a first round pick. Who knows, maybe they roll the dice with another Magic player in Terrance Ross if the whole Josh Richardson thing doesn't work out offensively. 

The point is, we get to keep the TPE conversation alive and that's truly what matters. The Celts love TPEs more than you love anything in your life. All the front office has done since Brad took over is stress flexibility moving forward. Having these tools in your arsenal in theory helps you achieve that. You never know what can happen over the course of an NBA season. Guys get unhappy, weird shit happens and suddenly a player who you didn't think was available suddenly is. Having a nice trade chip like a $17M TPE is valuable given their salary fits into that number. It can be used in 3 team trades for players we may not even be thinking about. All for the 55th pick and trash? How could anyone not be in favor of that. Instead of losing a player for nothing, you could potentially bring in a player that helps. Seems like a good idea to me.

Will Brad use it on a rental? I suppose it depends on how the season goes. Last year, everyone demanded Danny Ainge use the TPE in season, even on a rental. He had to do something. That ended up being 15 games of Evan Fournier (and a 17M TPE). I'm not sure Brad is under that same pressure because again the goal is to be as open as you possibly can be for next summer. If he ends up using it on a rental and that guy leaves, so be it. Just make another TPE. If this asset is used as part of a bigger deal, even better. The point is Brad has options, and that's exactly what you want when you're tasked with improving the roster. 

So far, so good.