Celtics Eyeing Center Upgrade; Open To Trade Horford, Richardson

Boston Celtics, Al Horford, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

Don’t look now, but the Boston Celtics look to finally be figuring things out as the NBA trade deadline approaches. After being three games under .500 head into the final weekend of December, the Celtics have put together an excellent start in January.

Boston is 6-3 in 2022 thus far and has gotten their record back above the .500 mark. They are playing more consistent basketball on both ends of the court and are now looking to make some moves ahead of the deadline.

They completed a three-team trade with the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs earlier in the week in what was a salary-saving move. The Celtics traded Juancho Hernangomez to the Spurs and got back Bol Bol and P.J. Dozier.

Both Bol and Dozier are currently injured, as Bol underwent surgery on his foot after a trade to the Detroit Pistons was voided because he failed his physical. Dozier tore his ACL and could miss the start of the 2022-23 season.

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Both players will be free agents this summer. But, to get under the luxury tax line, Boston could look to trade them. Bol could have value as a restricted free agent and a team could trade for him to acquire his rights. When healthy, he is an intriguing prospect with his blend of size and shooting ability.

With some work still to do when it comes to getting under the luxury tax, there are two other names to keep an eye on; Al Horford and Josh Richardson. Both are under contract beyond this season, but Boston is looking to upgrade at the center position and shed salary and they are two players that the team is open to moving.

After spending the 16th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft to acquire Al Horford in the offseason, the Boston Celtics are exploring trading him as they pursue another center, league sources told The Athletic.

Only $14.5 million of his $26.5 million salary is guaranteed next season, making him potentially attractive to teams looking to move off long-term money or take on his salary for an additional asset. As the Celtics look to retool and get below the luxury tax, they have been unsurprisingly open to moving Horford and Josh Richardson, two core rotation players signed beyond this season.

Trading two rotation pieces normally isn’t something a team would consider doing in-season, but the Celtics are determined to get below the luxury tax line.

If they need to attach an asset to someone to get a deal done, Brad Stevens has shown he is not afraid to do it. That is how the Celtics ended up with Al Horford back in the first place, as he was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Kemba Walker and a first-round pick.

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Robert Williams III is having a breakout season as the starting center, so the Boston Celtics are likely looking to bolster the depth behind him. There are a few big men that will be available ahead of the NBA trade deadline that will not only improve their depth but help them get under the luxury tax line as well.