One Of The Longest Running Celtics Storylines Will Finally Come To An End Today
It was 600 days ago that Woj typed out and hit send on that tweet. When Hayward decided to take his talents to the Hornets and Ainge convinced MJ to complete a sign and trade, it created one of the largest TPEs we've ever seen, totaling $28.6M. Immediately the debate was whether this was the right path or if Ainge should have just traded for Myles Turner, Doug McDermott and a 1st or some shit. How could we forget the leaks that came out of the IND side that they were ready to do a deal but Danny Ainge was the devil who was simply too selfish and couldn't stop asking for more. God those debates were so fucking annoying.
Ultimately we saw him use $17M of it on Evan Fournier, who at the time was pretty much exactly what the Celts roster needed. That team needed proven shooting, and as an expiring contract, it didn't exactly take a whole lot of assets to bring him in. The issue there was Fournier immediately got Covid and never really ended up helping. That was a dilemma because now with Brad Stevens in charge, he either had to pay him or figure something out. Thankfully, Brad showed why he's already a top 2 and it ain't 2 basketball executive and turned Evan Fournier into an Evan Fournier TPE worth $17M. With that other $10M he brought in Josh Richardson, a player who actually played well in his short stint in Boston. He then flipped Josh Richardson and assets to bring in Derrick White.
So, 600 days later, we finally have an answer as to what will end up happening with that Hayward TPE. The answer is Derrick White and $17M that is set to expire today.
Heading into this summer, I think most of us were on the same page. The goal was to improve the roster however you could with the resources you had available. I don't think it's a stretch to assume that most of us were under the impression that the big money player the Celts might bring in would come via that Fournier TPE. Or maybe Brad split it on two mid salary players. The points, heading into the summer it was their best vehicle to bring in a talent that could help without giving up major salary matching pieces who end up being top 7-8 rotation player.
But then the Malcolm Brogdon trade happened. Nobody, not a single fucking person could have seen that trade coming. If I came on here and told you that the package of Aaron Nesmith and a ham sandwich would bring back Malcolm Brodgon in a trade, I'd be dragged like I've never been dragged before and I work on the internet for a living. When that happened, it changed the direction of the offseason to some degree. For starters, any potential salary filler/picks that you thought maybe would be used in the TPE were no longer available. You could look at that move as being the TPE signing, it just didn't use that vehicle. They used their MLE to add Gallo, another position of need. So essentially Brad did what we all wanted him to do in terms of improving this roster, and he did it without touching the Fournier $17M TPE.
Which brings us to today. At the close of business, that $17M disappears forever. The Hayward TPE will finally be allowed to rest. The question now becomes, will Brad let that happen or will he actually use even a small percentage of it? By now everyone knows this team is paying the tax and any dollar they bring in gets multiplied, so it has to make sense. I don't care about Wyc paying a tax bill, but I'm also realistic. Considering they are looking to fill their 3rd center spot, I have a hard time imagining this team committing what ends up being like $50-60M for that player once everything is added up. But if it's a lower end salary guy? Maybe like 1-3M? That's certainly possible, but then the next question of who that even is suddenly isn't so easy to answer. I don't think Brad is in the business of giving up someone like Pritchard or an additional 1st round pick for 3rd string center, so it would have to be someone who a team is looking to unload and only take back a 2nd. Again, who is that guy?
So if we get to the end of today and Brad doesn't use it and the TPE expires, it's not the end of the world. That's not exactly something I thought I'd be saying at the start of the offseason, because it was at the time their best acquisition chip without moving rotation players. But I also didn't see Brogdon/Gallo coming. That changed their entire offseason direction in my opinion. I think that's why I'm OK with it if the TPE does expire. The Celts still accomplished what we wanted them to, and that is what matters. If there's something that makes sense and they do use it? Great! If not? There are still minimum guys at the center position out there. Once we get into the season, Brad has smaller TPEs to work with in the 5-6M range.
If the end result from the Hayward TPE fiasco is Derrick White, that's fine by me because Derrick White is good and cost controlled moving forward. What's crazy is it feels like we've been doing the TPE talk for a legit decade, and it's only been 600 days. I'm not sure we know how to survive without having the TPE in our lives. I'll never forget the times we had debating players or scenarios that were never ever ever ever going to happen. Those were the good ol' days. I hope we can do this all again one day. For something that people say was never used, we saw the TPE used to bring in two players, one of which ended up being traded for someone who played a legit role in a Finals run. That seems pretty good.
I just wouldn't get your hopes up we see Brad do something today with the Fournier money. He's not going to do something just to do it. I thought Derrick's dad had the best analogy to this
So now we wait. Knowing Brad, it's entirely possible he has something cooked up his sleeve that none of us see coming. He did it when he traded Kemba, he did it when he traded for JRich, he did it when he traded for White, and he did it when he traded for Brogdon. The man is about as unpredictable as it gets.