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Boston Celtics rumors: Tristan Thompson could miss regular season opener

Vincent Frank

Previous Boston Celtics rumors have pointed at the possibility that the team could engage in sign-and-trade scenarios that would send Gordon Hayward out of town.

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That was thrown for a loop over the weekend when the Charlotte Hornets reportedly signed Hayward to a whopping four-year, $120 million deal. Talk about an overpay.

But we digress. That contract has now been finalized with Boston getting something in return. Let’s take a look at other Boston Celtics rumors with the 2020-21 season about to get going.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Celtics, check out #Celtics rumors, rankings, and news here.

Boston Celtics rumors: Tristan Thompson could miss season opener

Boston wanted to get better defensively in the low-post this offseason. It’s one of the primary reasons the team traded Enes Kanter and ultimately signed veteran center Tristan Thompson. An NBA champion with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Thompson exited that organization after nine seasons. He’s now being relied on to play big minutes in Boston.

Unfortunately, that might not be the case early on. Thompson is dealing with a hamstring injury that will likely cost him the regular-season opener against the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 23. That’s obviously not great news going up against one of the better teams in the Association.

For now, Daniel Theis and Robert Williams will get more play inside with Thompson sidelined. It remains to be seen when he’ll be back on the court. Thompson, 29, averaged 12.0 points and 10.1 rebounds on 52% shooting from the field for Cleveland a season ago.

Boston Celtics roster

  • Point guard: Kemba Walker, Jeff Teague, Carsen Edwards, Tremont Waters, Javonte Green
  • Shooting guard: Marcus Smart, Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith
  • Center: Daniel Theis, Tristan Thompson, Robert Williams, Tacko Fall
  • Power forward: Jayson Tatum, Grant Williams
  • Small forward: Jaylen Brown, Semi Ojeleye

Updated: Dec. 13, 1:54 PM EST

Boston Celtics rumors: Could the team look into a blockbuster trade?

We’ve seen it a ton recently. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge refusing to trade draft picks or young assets for a proven star. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown remained untouchable for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis in the past.

It has worked out to an extent. Tatum is a true rising star. Boston is coming off an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals. Even then, there’s some who believe Ainge has been too conservative with his vast amount of assets.

Has that changed with Boston’s championship window wide open? The team lost Gordon Hayward for a salary cap exception in a sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets. It failed landing Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner in a separate sign-and-trade for Hayward.

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However, Boston’s $28.5 million trade exception could loom large if Ainge goes against his MO and opts to trade for a star. It’s in this that Boston Celtics rumors will certainly pick up on the trade front with the 2020-21 NBA season slated to get going.

One option is obviously disgruntled Houston Rockets star James Harden. After originally preferring a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, Harden is now open to being moved to other contenders. Not only would the Celtics’ trade exception potentially come in handy here, the team could potentially make a move for Harden without having to use it.

Boston Celtics rumors: Could a James Harden trade be coming?
Dec 9, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) laughs after he made a basket while being fouled by the Sacramento Kings in the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The scenario would include Boston moving Brown, Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker and three first-round picks to Houston for Harden, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker. Whether either Houston or Boston even considers this remains to be seen. But it makes a ton of sense.

As for the Celtics’ trade exception, why not use it to take on a talented player under a bad contract while potentially picking up draft pick compensation in order to pull off another blockbuster? Players that could potentially be had in a trade of this ilk include Blake Griffin (Pistons), Kevin Love (Cavaliers) and DeMar DeRozan (Spurs).

Updated: Dec. 8, 6:49 PM EST

Boston Celtics rumors: Team trades Gordon Hayward to the Hornets

Well, it finally happened. Days after former Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward agreed to sign with the Charlotte Hornets comes this piece of information from Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Boston has agreed to a sign-and-trade that sends two future second-round picks to the Hornets a long with Hayward for a conditional second-round pick. This deal also nets Boston a massive trade exception of roughly $30 million that it can use over the next calendar year.

This is no small thing for Boston in that the team can now use said trade exception any time it wants over the next 12 months. This gives general manager Danny Ainge a ton of options to upgrade his roster. The Celtics are hard-capped right now, meaning that they don’t necessarily have the necessary means to upgrade a roster that should be contending for a title in 2020-21.

How the Celtics use said trade exception remains to be seen. The obvious name would be James Harden. Although, that would take a lot more than a trade exception. Either way, this is some big news for Boston.

Updated: Nov. 29, 3:47 PM EST

Boston Celtics rumors: Kemba Walker questionable for opening night

It remains to be seen who the Boston Celtics will take on to open the 2020-21 NBA season. However, there’s a chance star point guard Kemba Walker won’t be on the court for said game.

Boston head coach Brad Stevens discussed the knee injury that hampered Walker’s first season with the team just recently. He didn’t seem too confident that Walker will be able to play to open the season.

“We haven’t settled on any timelines, this is more of a plan appropriately thing, so that he can play and play uninhibited as he moves forward, a lot like the bubble,” Stevens said, via Celtics Blog. “The bubble was unique, because you went basically four months off, so there was a different challenge there in that ramping up was a big threat to everybody, but certainly if you had a situation like his where if he goes too fast, too soon that probably wouldn’t have been good. Here it’s just too soon until the season. So I anticipate, again, we’ll be slow with him as the season starts, as practice starts.”

There was some thought given to the idea that Boston might look to trade Walker, primarily because of concerns over the 30-year old’s knee. That didn’t come to fruition once the conference-rival Milwaukee Bucks landed Jrue Holiday in a trade over the Celtics.

Walker averaged 20.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game on 45% shooting in his first go-around with the Celtics. With Walker potentially sidelined to open the 2020-21 campaign, veteran free-agent signing Jeff Teague could potentially handle ball-handling duties. Marcus Smart becomes an option, too, now that last season’s top backup Brad Wanamaker is a member of the Warriors.

Update: Nov. 25, 2:04 AM EST

Boston Celtics rumors: Gordon Hayward trade still possible

“League sources tell Bostonsportsjournal.com that the two sides continue to negotiate about a potential deal sign-and-trade deal as of Monday morning. Let’s take a look at where both sides stand in the discussions and where things go from here,” Celtics insider Brian Robb reported.

Now, this is a pretty complex situation. Let’s attempt to break it down in simpler terms for anyone involved. If Boston were to engage in a sign and trade with Charlotte without taking any salary back (unlikely), it would create a valuable $28 million trade exception that the Celtics could use for the next year. Given the trade and free-agent markets right now, that might be the best avenue for the Celtics to pursue.

However, it seems highly unlikely that the Hornets would pull off a trade of this ilk without sending contracts back to Boston. Charlotte is preparing to waive Nicolas Batum using the stretch provision in order to fit Hayward under the cap. That would equate to a $9 million dead cap hit over the next three years. If the Hornets can send $9 million back in salary, it would not have to do this.

So, how might a Hayward sign-and-trade from the Celtics to the Hornets look? This is where it becomes much more simpler. Boston would want real assets back from Charlotte via rotation options on the roster and/or draft picks.

Former top-11 pick Malik Monk ($5.3 million salary) becomes an option. While the guard has struggled throughout his first three NBA seasons, a change of scenery could be in the cards here. Monk has double-digit scoring capability. He’d be a bonus on Boston’s second time.

In order to help facilitate the Hornets avoiding taking that Batum cap hit, the Celtics could then take on the deals of Caleb Martin ($1.5 million) and Cody Martin ($1.5 million) while demanding multiple second-round picks in return. If that doesn’t work, small forward Miles Bridges ($4 million) becomes a real option. Hayward is already slated to replace the former first-round pick in the starting lineup. Hayward for Monk and Bridges seems to be the likeliest scenario should a sign-and-trade go through.

Update: Nov. 23, 7:16 PM EST

Boston Celtics rumors will continue to heat up over the next several days and weeks. It started with the 2020 NBA Draft where they had three first-round picks.

From there, rumors persisted earlier this offseason that the Celtics could potentially look to move both Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward in trades. While the Smart situation remains unresolved and Hayward is now in Charlotte, there’s other Celtics-related news breaking.

Updated: Nov. 22, 4:55 PM EST

Boston Celtics rumors: Team signs Jayson Tatum to massive extension

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics have signed their star forward to a five-year extension worth a whopping $195 million. Yes, that’s a max contract for a player still on his rookie deal. The contract itself could end up being worth $200 million.

Tatum, 22, has more than earned this massive pay raise. A top-three pick from Duke back in 2017, Tatum has improved each and every year he’s been in the NBA. This past season saw the 6-foot-8 wing break out big time. Tatum averaged 23.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists on 45% shooting from the field. He also hit on 40% of his three-point attempts.

Tatum performed even better in the playoffs en route to leading Boston to the Eastern Conference Finals. He averaged nearly 26 points to go with 10.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists. We’re looking at a franchise cornerstone who has yet to hit his ceiling.

There’s certainly a good reason Celtics general manager Danny Ainge previously pushed back against trading Tatum in hypothetical deals for Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard in the past. He’s been seen as a budding star in Boston for some time. Tatum is now getting paid like it.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Celtics, check out #Celtics rumors, rankings, and news here.

Updated: Nov. 18, 3:23 PM EST

Boston Celtics rumors: Team looking to trade into the top three

Boston Celtics rumors: Team interested in LaMelo Ball?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics’ inability to land Jrue Holiday in a trade earlier this week has Danny Ainge and Co. changing course heading into the 2020 NBA Draft. According to Marc Stein of The NY Times, Boston is pursuing a trade into the top three.

It’s not known who Boston would be targeting. What we do know is that James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball are the consensus top-three picks in the draft. Of chose, Wiseman and Ball would make the most sense. Boston needs a center. It is also looking to upgrade over Kemba Walker at point guard. While Ball wouldn’t be an immediate upgrade, he’d likely give Boston that long-term solution at last.

Of those picking in the top three, the Timberwolves (No. 1) and Warriors (No. 2) are currently in discussions with other teams to trade down. Would either one want to move all the way down to the 14th pick? That seems highly unlikely. Although, the Warriors might be tempted by this.

It’s all about what Boston would be willing to offer up. All three of its first-round picks (14th, 26th and 30th) would have to be offered up. From there, the Celtics would have to send an unprotected first-round pick and player(s) in order to move up.

Purely hypothetical, but a trade with the Warriors could look like this.

  • Warriors get: Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis, three first-round picks in 2020, future first-round pick
  • Celtics get: No. 2 overall pick

Golden State could use its Andre Iguodala trade exception to make this work. Whether that would be enough for the Warriors remains to be seen.

As for a potential trade with the Timberwolves, Smart would be the centerpiece going to Minnesota. The team would then want all three Celtics first-round picks, a young big in that of Robert Williams or Grant Williams, Romeo Langford and a future unprotected first-round pick.

Stay tuned.

Updated: Nov. 17, 11:30 AM EST

Boston Celtics rumors: What’s next after missing out on Jrue Holiday?

The New Orleans Pelicans took advantage of a desperate Milwaukee Bucks squad earlier this week, acquiring three first-round picks and future draft swaps in exchange for 30-year-old guard Jrue Holiday. Despite being linked to Holiday in the recent past, there’s no way Celtics general manager Dannay Ainge would have offered up that draft bounty. He values his draft picks too much.

However, it’s now back to the drawing board for Ainge and his Celtics on the eve of the NBA Draft. Boston is slated to select 14th, 26th and 30th in the first round of Wednesday’s draft. Previous suggestions were that the team is looking to trade into the top 10. Former Auburn wing Isaac Okoro is said to be the target. It’s not yet known whether this will come to fruition.

There’s a lot more going around Celtics-land with the NBA offseason now in full gear. Gordon Hayward has until later on Tuesday to decide whether to pick up the $34.1 million option on his contract. That seems to be a foregone conclusion, and could lead to a trade during the 2020 NBA Draft.

By virtue of their interest in Holiday, it’s apparent the Celtics are looking for another point guard. Perhaps, Kemba Walker will be one-and-done. Although, it seems more reasonable to believe that Marcus Smart could be on his way out. That’s also something to keep an eye on as Boston looks to move into the top 10.

Updated: Nov. 15, 6:40 PM EST

Boston Celtics rumors: How might a Jrue Holiday trade look?

There’s no shortage of contending teams interested in a trade for New Orleans Pelicans All-Star guard Jrue Holiday. Among those teams, the Celtics seems to have enough capital to pull off what would be a blockbuster deal.

One theory included Boston sending last year’s big free-agent signing Kemba Walker to New Orleans in a trade. However, that seems pretty far-fetched. Would Boston really trade Walker after just one season? It would be akin to general manager Danny Ainge admitting another mistake at the point guard position.

Keeping Walker following a hypothetical trade for Holiday would also be questionable. It could work with Jaylen Brown playing the three and stud forward Jayson Tatum moving to the four. However, that would be extreme small-ball.

Boston Celtics rumors: What would a Jrue Holiday trade look like?
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Rather, it seems to make sense that Boston would ship Walker to another team in a separate trade. Holiday and Brown in the back court with Tatum playing the three works better.

If that is indeed the case, what might a Holiday trade to Boston look like? It would start with New Orleans taking on the expiring contract of Gordon Hayward (should he opt in). From there, the Pelicans also send JJ Redick to Boston. In return, New Orleans gets two first-round picks in this week’s draft, either Grant Williams or Robert Williams and young guard Carsen Edwards. Would that be enough to move the needle for New Orleans? We’re not too sure.

Updated: Nov. 10, 3:02 PM EST

Boston Celtics rumors: Draft day trades?

With three first-round picks, the championship-contending Celtics find themselves in a great position. They’re not going to use all three picks. That would be foolish. A trade up in the first round or acquiring a rotational veteran player seems to make the most sense.

John Hollinger of The Athletic suggests that Boston could move picks 14, 26 and 30 to the Washington Wizards for the ninth overall selection. The target here could be stud former USC big man Onyeka Okongwu, who is rumored to be of interest for the Celtics.

There’s also a decent chance that Boston could opt to trade the 14th selection for a veteran. This would enable the team to select a player at 26 and potential go draft-and-stash at 30 with an international player.

Given the Celtics’ cap situation, they’d likely have to move Marcus Smart (rumors suggest this is a possibility). Pure conjecture, but the following players could make sense. Larry Nance Jr. (Cavaliers), Jonas Valančiūnas (Grizzlies), Jusuf Nurkić (Blazers) and Julius Randle (Knicks). Either way, the target would be someone at the four or five positions. Boston Celtics rumors will pick up in this regard moving forward.

Updated: Nov. 2, 10:26 PM EST

Boston Celtics rumors

Injury-plagued Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has a decision to make before the start of NBA free agency later in November. Rumors indicate that Hayward is potentially looking to opt out of his $34.19 million salary for next season. If that doesn’t happen, the Celtics could potentially trade the former All-Star.

According to NBA ESPN insider Zach Lowe, that’s a real possibility right now.

Boston Celtics rumors: Is the team set to trade Gordon Hayward?

During his weekly podcast, Lowe pointed to the likelihood that Boston will look to trade the forward should he opt in to the final year of his four-year, $127.8 million contract.

Lowe’s most-notable rumors included the following trade scenarios.

  • Gordon Hayward to the Portland Trail Blazers. Rodney Hood, Trevor Ariza, Zach Collins and a protected first-round pick.
  • Gordon Hayward to the Indiana Pacers for a package including Myles Turner.
  • Gordon Hayward to the Utah Jazz a long with Enes Kanter and a first-round pick for Rudy Gobert.

Rumors around the NBA water cooler have linked Gobert in trades. That started after he got into a spat with teammate Donovan Mitchell over COVID-19 back in March. However, it remains to be seen if the Jazz want to bring back their former All-Star in that of Gordon Hayward.

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Boston Celtics rumors: Team is looking to make a splash

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward during NBA game against the Heat.
Sep 25, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward (20) controls the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics’ big three of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker aren’t going anywhere. Instead, Boston general manager Danny Ainge is rumored to be looking for a deeper bench.

Apparently, the forward has trade value. That’s surprising given that he’s on the wrong side of 30 and has played in a total of 125 games in three seasons with the Celtics.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Mavericks, check out #MFFL rumors, rankings, and news here.

If the rumors that Boston is looking to move the forward are true, the team would have to pick up other contracts in return. Perhaps, a team like the Dallas Mavericks makes sense. Dwight Powell, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Delon Wright could be a fit for Boston. Not to start any unnecessary rumors, but this move would work for both teams.

Either way, expect to hear a lot from the Boston Celtics on the NBA rumor mill as the offseason gets going later this month.