The Celtics Are Going Wing Shopping In The Buyout Market So Let's Talk About Who Makes The Most Sense

Leading up to the trade deadline, I think most Celts fans had two things on their list

1. Bring in big man help

2. Bring in wing help

Personally, I didn't care about the order in which these things happened. Trading for a big was cool with me, as long as they get a wing in the buyout market. If they traded for a wing yesterday, cool. Just get a big in the buyout market. 

With Brad trading for a system fit in Mike Muscala yesterday

that took care of the 3rd/4th center depth that was on the list. With all this stuff I think it's important to remember that nothing the Celts were going to do this deadline was going to make up for a situation where either Rob/Al/Tatum/Brown get hurt. Given what the Celts had to work with, that player didn't exist. Guess what? If Rob or Al gets hurt in a playoff series, the Celts would still be fucked even if it was Jakob Poeltl instead of Mike Muscala. If one of Tatum or Brown goes down, it doesn't matter who is replacing them. The Celts are cooked.

The same is true with essentially every team in the NBA and their best players. 

This deadline to me was more about depth in the sense you're just looking for guys to help get you to the end of the season. If you need one of them in a pinch, you can throw them out there for a few minutes and survive. When you only have a $5.9M TPE and the money of end of bench guys/an injured guy, I certainly hope you shifted your expectations accordingly. 

Which brings us to the buyout market. So far, the names we're hearing like John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson are players I have no interest in given the positional need I want Brad to fill. Buyout bigs mean nothing to me as well after yesterday, which means we need to be looking at the wing buyout market. It's not sexy, each guy is flawed in some way because if they weren't they wouldn't be getting bought out, so let's have a look at the guys who most consider are entering the market at the wing position

Another source said the Celtics wanted a player who could step right into the rotation AND a good draft pick (lottery-protected first-round pick or better) for Williams. That’s as clear of a sign as you’re going to get of how much Boston values Williams, and some potential insight into their summer plans for Williams’ restricted free agency.

  • The Celtics were chasing two things at the trade deadline: another big and wing depth. Sources tell CelticsBlog that Boston was in on several of the wings that were traded, but bowed out due to meeting the asking prices in terms of picks and salary-matching.

One source said, “When it became things like four and five second-round picks, plus matching salary for guys like (Luke) Kennard, (Josh) Hart and (Eric Gordon), Boston was out. They just didn’t have that available. That’s why they pivoted to (Mike) Muscala.” 

  • On the Muscala addition, one veteran scout told CelticsBlog: “He’s basically perfect for them. They can keep running the five-out stuff and they could even play him next to Rob (Williams) if they needed to. Adding Moose (Muscala’s nickname) won’t directly swing the Finals or anything. But it could indirectly swing the Finals by keeping (Al) Horford and Rob (Williams) rested for the next couple of months.”
  • Boston is engaged with several players in advance of buyout discussions. With a role available on a Finals contender and $3.2 million in spending power, the Celtics believe they can beat most offers wing players will get this month.

Players to keep an eye on include Will Barton, Danny Green, Justin Holiday and Terrence Ross.

Is your dick blown off by reading any of those names? Of course not. At the same time. that' OK. I look at it like this, if Sam Hauser has found his shot again which it looks like he has (47.1% over last 8 games), and you're telling me the Celts are going to be healthy in a playoff series, this buyout guy most likely won't even see the floor over Hauser. Get me a guy to give minutes in March to while you rest your best players. I see those names and I think any of those options could fill that role.

So which should you prefer? Well let's have a look at each

Will Barton

2022-23 stats: 7.7/2.5/2.8 on 38/38% splits in 19 minutes a game

It's hard to gauge Will Barton this season in my opinion given how much of a mess the Wizards are. While I don't doubt there is some natural regression seeing as how Barton is 32, just last season he was a 14/4/5 guy on 43/36% splits while starting 71 games for the Nuggets. To me, he feels like a guy that thrives playing next to good talent, but you take that talent away and suddenly he's a much better player.

While nobody on the Celts roster is like playing like Jokic, I think it's fair to say the Celts have considerably better talent available than the Wizards, so his production this season isn't all that concerning to me. His 3pt shooting has been at least 36% since 2019-20, and 38% in two of those 4 seasons. He also has 29 career playoff games under his belt, averaging 14.8/5.1/2.8 on 42/36% splits in his last two runs (8 games).

If you're interested in someone who on any given night might be able to carry some second unit scoring minutes, Barton has proven he can be that guy in theory. There's a little bit of a "shot chucker" issue at times, he'll give you a 3-15 every once in a while, and I'm not exactly expecting him to lock up anyone defensively, just be competent. 

In his last year in DEN he wasn't all that great in isolation (51st percentile, 37% FG), and he was in the 38th percentile as the P&R ball handler. The good news is he did shoot 38% on catch & shoot 3PA, so that fits. 

This year, those numbers are way worse. In isolation this season, Barton ranks in the 4th percentile and is shooting 20%. In P&R, he ranks in the 28th percentile and shoots 37%. On catch & shoot 3PA though, he's up to 45%.

So what does this all mean? The hope would be Barton is somewhere in the middle if he were to join this team. He may not be able to score in isolation anymore like he did as a Nugget, but he's probably not as bad as he's shown in WSH. The spot up shooting seems to be consistent, and as we know spot up shooters tend to do well in the bench lineups.

Barton is the type of guy where there's a chance he shows up and carries in a big game, but he'll also have that same confidence on a night where nothing falls. But if you're looking for someone that has experience and has a skill that fits how the Celts play, Barton does check those boxes.

Danny Green

2022-23 stats: It's been 3 games, these do not matter

With Danny Green, your first concern of course is the fact that he's 35 years old coming off an ACL injury. That's….not great if your goal of a wing is to give them a bunch of minutes to help rest your two best players. He's only playing 14 minutes a game since he returned 3 games ago, and at that age and with that injury, the availability is what concerns me most.

What I do know about Danny Green is that he can shoot. A career 39.9% three point shooter, last year he was at 39% and was over 40% in two of the three previous seasons from that one. He's played in 165 playoff games and has 3 rings. I can't imagine there's all that much left in the tank defensively, especially with his injury, but maybe I'm wrong. He's wasn't the worst defender when he was healthy, and we're talking about the 13th or 14th guy here. You're not getting All NBA defense from that spot anyway.

I think what attracts me most about Danny Green isn't just the proven outside shooting (career 38% playoff shooter), but the mentality. He's a guy that has reached the top of the mountain before, and I think there's value in that. If he has to come into a game in a big spot in a playoff series, he's not going to be freaked out. He may go cold as shit to the point where he's trending on Twitter, but the moment won't be too big for him. I go back to that report that the Celts want guys they can plug in right away, and given his experience and shooting ability, Green fits that.

The only main concern I have is the ACL recovery. I want the player who gets this roster spot to actually be able to play and not be load managed.

Justin Holiday

2022-23 stats: 4.5/0.8/0.8 on 38/34% splits

If this was 2-3 years ago, I'd probably be a little higher on Justin Holiday. He wasn't terrible last year as a Pacer before being traded to the King (11/2/2 on 41/37%), but he's sneaky fallen off a cliff this year on both ends. Given that he's also 33, he's probably my least preferred option which most likely means this is who it'll be.

He's only played 28 games this year which isn't a huge sample, but he's at just 34% as a catch & shoot guy. I basically need you to be one of two things if you're going to get this wing spot. I need you to be a reliable catch & shoot guy, or I need you to be able to defend your position. If you don't really do either of those things, I think we can move onto other options.

Now, if you're telling me you want the oldest Holiday brother on the roster so that you can use his older brother strength to punk his younger brother Jrue in a playoff series, I could maybe understand that. Sadly, I don't think that's a real thing so this is a pass for me personally.

Terrance Ross

2022-23 stats: 8.0/2.0/1.3 on 43/38% splits

Ah yes, Celtics Killer Terrance Ross. With him, I have just one question. Which Terrance Ross am I getting? Is it this dude?

or is it this dude?

Welcome to the Terrance Ross Experience. You want a feast or famine player, Ross is your guy. In terms of individual talent, he probably has the most of it of any of these guys listed. He's someone who has 41 career playoff games under his belt, but only shot 38/31%. While he's currently at 38% this season from three, that's a little bit of fools gold when you look at his recent history

2019-20: 35%

2020-21: 33%

2021-22: 29%

So I think it's fair to say he's more likely to be a 34-35% shooter than a 38%+ shooter. Ross is a guy I consider a microwave scorer where you just don't know what you're getting. If he sees his first shot fall, you could get that 29 point Terrance Ross. At the same time, that 2 point Terrance Ross is also a possibility when going up against an elite defense. The good news is he's a 39.5% shooter on catch & shoot 3s, and if your goal for this spot is someone who is capable of dropping 30 in a game, Ross technically is the best option of these players.

This might just be me, but my brain is a little nervous about former Magic players. You live through Mickaël Piétrus and Jameer Nelson and try and tell me any different. Is Ross a good numbers on a bad team guy who can't handle the pressure of being on a title contender? Or, would he get even better playing next to better talent? That's what Brad has to decide. 

Based on these names, I think at the moment I would power rank them as follows

1. Terrance Ross

2. Danny Green

3. Will Barton

4. Justin Holiday

Do I love it? Eh. Again, my dick is still attached to my body. I would love it if some additional wings happened to find their way to the buyout market over the next few days, but it feels like this is the group we're going to be left with. At the end of the day the Celts title hopes are not reliant on a buyout wing, so really just bring in a body that you think can fit your system and be done with it.