Brad Stevens free to use Celtics trade exceptions to add payroll: ‘We’ve got the okay to do whatever we need to do’

The Celtics have a number of tools to improve their roster this summer, but most of them will involve adding salaries to a payroll already in luxury tax territory.

However, in his season-ending press conference on Tuesday, basketball operations president Brad Stevens confirmed he has the green light from the owner to use trade exemptions to bolster the team next year.

“We have the okay to do whatever we have to do,” Stevens said of the trade exceptions. The comments confirm what MassLive reported Monday about increased spending for Boston next season.

There are three trade exceptions Boston still own that can be considered significant, and that’s still a valuable number for a team heading into the season well above the salary cap.

Evan Fournier: ($17.1 million remaining)

Juancho Hernangomez: ($6.9 million remaining)

Dennis Schroder: ($5.9 million remaining)

Stevens spoke about the team’s decision-making process when it comes to leveraging the trade exemptions and weighing what those changes would mean for the roster.

“I think the trade exception, there’s a reason a lot of the trade exceptions go unused,” Stevens said. “We have a lot of that at the moment. We have one that expires naturally, the big one expires in July, we have a few others that expire later, these are all reasonable amounts that we can pick up good players with, so balance that out, ok, how much the costs you have to pay? Bring someone to add – not necessarily take away, which of course you don’t want. So it’s still a matter of being prudent and thoughtful about what the deal is.”

“But we’re going through the whole list and trying to find people that fit what we need and fit how we want to play and how Ime wants to coach and do it in a way that that train can take off, let’s go next.” year. I thought one of the things that caught up with us was that we started so badly last year. And obviously for a variety of reasons. But if you’re starting 18-21, you’ve got to fight, scrape and scrape to get into the playoffs, get into the seeds, get home — you’ve got to do all of those things and there’s no margin for error. And that means you can play for many minutes on the go. And that’s why we have to start better next year. So adding people to contribute to our group is again the main focus however we do that.”

The Celtics’ off-season rotation and action could begin as early as this week with Thursday night’s NBA draft coming up. Boston only had one second-round pick (No. 53) but could actively use its exceptions for future draft picks. NBA Free Agency is scheduled to begin June 30 at 6:00 p.m. ET.

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