Four Boston Celtics trade targets with the Evan Fournier TPE

Trading season is here! We’re only about a week away from the NBA Finals, but the offseason is already in full swing. After a disappointing exit on the biggest stage, all eyes are on Brad Stevens, President of Basketball Operations, to see how he can improve this team. Stevens excelled at building the roster in his first season, but there are now clear areas he needs to address if Boston is to climb the hump and win Banner 18.

As most Celtics fans know, the team has some Traded Player Exceptions (TPE) to work with this offseason. The largest is worth $17.1 million thanks to Evan Fournier’s sign-and-trade with the New York Knicks. Let’s take a look at four potential targets Stevens could acquire with this massive TPE.

Kyle Kuzma

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After a rough couple of years off the Los Angeles Lakers bench, Kuzma found new life in his NBA career with a trade to Washington as part of the Russell Westbrook deal. While the Wizards continued to struggle, Kuzma averaged 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game and started in all 66 contests he played.

The Utah product also hit 34% of his three-pointers on just under six attempts per game, which is fine for a power forward in today’s NBA. At just 26, the versatile 6.9-footer could step in immediately as the Celtics’ sixth man with the potential to take the first PF spot once Al Horford announces his career.

Kuzma is on the books for just $13 million each (with a player option next year), which is a bargain considering his 2021-22 production wasn’t a runaway. There’s a chance the Wizards will see him as part of their core going forward, but if he’s available Kuzma could be Stevens’ #1 target with the Fournier TPE.

Mark Morris

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Stevens has already shown an affinity for taking on players he coached in Boston. Why not bring back another old friend?

Morris could offer exactly what Boston is looking for with this current roster – bank depth and scoring. There are certainly some downsides to this potential acquisition, so let’s get them out of the way first. He will turn 33 at the start of next season and has not played 57 games in a year since 2018.

That being said, he was fantastic for the Clippers in the 54 competitions he competed in last season. Morris averaged 15.4 points per game and grabbed 4.4 boards each night. While starting for LA last year with Kawhi Leonard on the sidelines and Paul George in and out of the lineup, he has shown he can produce off the bench.

With two years left on his contract, Morris makes a lot of sense as a potential TPE target for the Celtics.

Duncan Robinson

NBA: Playoffs – Boston Celtics at Miami Heat

Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

This would always be a divisive choice. The reality of the situation is that Robinson struggled significantly last season. He was virtually unplayable in the postseason, and his defensive limitations are well documented.

If the 6’7 sniper doesn’t hit his shots, he can’t be on the ground. When he nails his shots, he’s one of the league’s most dangerous perimeter weapons, as proven in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Despite an overall poor 2021-22 season, Robinson still hit just over 37% of his shots from behind the arc, showing his ability to produce even when things aren’t going well.

The contract is another issue. The Heat gave Robinson a five-year, $90 million contract, which is the largest contract ever for an unconscripted free agent. Now he’s on the books for at least the 2025-26 season and Miami wants to drop him.

If Stevens thinks Robinson’s poor performance last year was an outlier, this is a great opportunity to buy the Michigan product low. Yes, Ime Udoka would have to find a way to hide him on defense and there’s a chance he might not see consistent minutes in the playoffs.

That being said, if the Celtics can use him properly, Robinson is just the kind of weapon they need.

Jordan Clarkson

NBA: Playoffs – Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Clarkson could be the most realistic option for the Celtics with the Fournier TPE. The problem is that no one has any idea what’s going on in Utah right now. Tensions between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have been reported for years, and this partnership seems to have reached its breaking point. Other than that, it’s all speculation until one of these players is dealt.

Regardless, it looks like jazz is heading towards at least a reboot, with a rebuild feeling more likely. Quin Snyder’s decision to step down as head coach says a lot about the state of the organization. Change is needed and the front office may be ready to move away from Clarkson.

The 30-year-old has been nothing short of phenomenal as Utah’s sixth man, averaging 18.4 and 16.0 points per game over the past two seasons. While not an elite shooter, Clarkson gives the Celtics a bench scorer who can get them a bucket if needed. As much as fans may love Derrick White and Payton Pritchard, neither of these guys has the scoring chances that Clarkson offers.

The 6’4 guard has two years left on a team-friendly deal and would offer exactly what Boston is looking for in the Fournier TPE.

While the Celtics have a variety of options to explore with their $17.1 million trade exception, these are four strong candidates who could help the team now. With the TPE ending in July, we won’t have to wait long to see who adds Boston to that core.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.