Celtics Miss Out on Top Free Agent Target to East Rival: Report


TJ Warren, Boston Celtics

Heading into the offseason, the Boston Celtics were expected to target TJ Warren in the free hand as they attempted to give their bench unit a shot on target.

However, after Brad Stevens and the front office signed both Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari on July 1, they apparently took their foot off the gas as they began taking stock of the current roster. Maybe Boston is done with their off-season moves, or maybe they’re looking for the right deal on their $17.2 million trade exception.

Whatever the reason, they must remove TJ Warren’s name from their free-agent big board because the wing has signed a one-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“After missing most of the past two seasons with a stress fracture in his left foot, free-agent forward TJ Warren has agreed to a one-year contract with the Brooklyn Nets, sources told ESPN on Tuesday. Warren played four games in 2020-21 and missed the entire 2021 season with back-to-back breaks, but he’s recovering now and the Nets hope he can play a role in both forward positions,” Wojnarowski wrote on July 5.

Warren’s injury history was a concern

Over the past two seasons, Warren has played exactly four games as he has had to deal with multiple broken feet. As such, the market for the top scorer has been slim as most teams seem unwilling to part with some or all of their mid-level exceptional players to add him to their rotation.

Landing in a place where there will be guaranteed minutes next season was important for Warren as he looks to put two tumultuous years behind him and begin to rebuild his value in the league – a one-year deal does that.

From the Nets’ perspective, Warren is a low-risk, high-reward addition to a team rocked by all the drama surrounding Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. So it makes perfect sense for them to add 20 potential points per night scorer that can affect play on either side of the floor.

Boston is probably done moving

When you look at the level of skill the Celtics have added to their roster at Brogdon and Gallinari, it’s clear that neither player came at a small cost. In fact, Gallinari signed for the mid-level full taxpayer exemption, and Brogdon is making $22.5 million per season.

While most Celtics fans have been vocal about the team’s owners paying the luxury tax, there’s probably a limit to how deep they’re willing to dig into the tax. Boston essentially added nearly $22 million in salary when you subtract Daniel Theis and Aaron Nesmith’s contracts, meaning they’re well above the luxury threshold next season.

As such, Boston is unlikely to capitalize on its full $17.2 million trade exemption before it expires on July 18. Sure, there’s a chance they’ll use part of the exception or enter trade negotiations as a third team to facilitate a deal. But overall, Brogdon and Gallinari are probably the two most important acquisitions of the summer and considering how talented they both are, it’s fair to say the Celtics have made some good deals.

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