Celtics Urged to Trade for Kelly Olynyk This Offseason


The Detroit Pistons’ Kelly Olynyk was affiliated with the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics could improve in a few areas this summer. They need help on the wing, they could use more playmaking and as always adding shooting to the squad would be a welcome sight. Luckily, they have a few useful methods for adding such players.

In addition to their $6.3 million MLE, the Celtics have a variety of TPEs, the largest of which is worth $17.1 million. With that, they could provide some serious help in hopes of making it to the NBA Finals again next year.

One name mentioned as a potential target was Detroit Pistons big man Kelly Olynyk, who used to play for the Celtics. Andy Bailey wrote about the idea for Bleacher Report, stating that Olynyk would tick a box for Boston.

“Assuming they guarantee Al Horford’s $26.5 million salary for 2022-23, the Boston Celtics will return every key rotation player from the team that just made the NBA Finals,” Bailey wrote. “And that group is already one of the deepest and most balanced in the league. If there are two spots they could secure with a $17.2 million trade exception, it could be Backup Point Guard or Backup 5 (roles currently filled by Payton Pritchard and Daniel Theis). Kelly Olynyk is a great way to choose one of these boxes.”

Bailey identified some areas of Olynyk’s game as the most useful for the Celtics.

How Olynyk would help the Celtics

Most fans know Olynyk as a big man who excels at three-pointers, but he’s solid in other areas of the game as well. In addition to his threes, Bailey pointed to his above-average play and solid rebound counts as reasons for the Celtics to target him.

“[Olynyk] is one of the most underrated playmakers in the league,” Bailey said. “Over his career, Olynyk has averaged 3.5 assists, 2.0 three-pointers and 2.0 offensive rebounds per 75 possessions. No one in league history equals or exceeds all three.”

To say that Olynyk is in his own category in NBA history is a wild claim, but it is factually true. And even though Olynyk was on an underperforming Detroit team last year, he played decently well. He averaged 9.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists on 44.8% shots from the field and 33.6% shots from behind the three-point line.

Additionally, Bailey thinks the Pistons may be ready to part ways with him.

Why Pistons Olynyk Would Trade

The Pistons are in a very different place than the Celtics as a franchise. While Boston is fighting for a title, Detroit is in the middle of a lengthy restructuring. Having a 31-year-old Olynyk on the list is unlikely to be part of their long-term game plan.

“He’s set to make $12.8 million next season (fits this trade exception), is currently on a team that should give the young core more responsibility,” Bailey said.

Unless the Celtics find much else they like in the trade market, bringing in a familiar face via the TPE could be a solid route.

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