Report: Celtics have 'real' interest in Kelly Olynyk trade; Heat also in mix originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Kyrie Irving is going to dominate the headlines surrounding the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline, but there are plenty of other players in the rumor mill generating interest across the league.
One of those guys is Kelly Olynyk.
Longtime basketball reporter Steve Bulpett wrote earlier this week on Heavy.com that both the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat have interest in acquiring Olynyk. The 6-foot-11 center was drafted by the Celtics in 2013 and played with them through the 2016-17 season. He left Boston in the summer of 2017 to join the Miami Heat in free agency and played in South Beach for three-plus seasons.
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Olynyk is now playing for the Utah Jazz, who are surprisingly in a playoff spot as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference standings entering Saturday. But the Jazz are probably more concerned about the future and not competing in 2023, and trading Olynyk could add to their already impressive stockpile of draft picks and young players.
How legit is the Celtics' interest in bringing back Olynyk? Here's what our insider Chris Forsberg reported on NBC Sports Boston's "Early Edition with Trenni" before Friday night's Celtics loss to the Phoenix Suns at TD Garden.
"I asked a couple people around the league, and league sources indicate the Celtics' interest here is real," Forsberg explained. "Now, it's a little bit of a prohibitive number to get to, a little more than $12 million. You're talking about pairing (Danilo) Gallinari, Payton Pritchard, Justin Jackson in order to make the money work. But Kelly has another year left (on his contract) after this year, he has familiarity with these surroundings, and so I do think there's something to it. The best thing I can say is Kelly would give you versatility at both the forward/center positions. He can play with anybody. He can play with Robert Williams, he can play with Al Horford, he can play with Grant Williams.
"I think that's something that has to intrigue the Celtics. He's someone who would definitely play in a playoff series. There's going to be some competition for Kelly Olynyk, not the least of which will be Miami -- another team that's had him. I'm very interested to see how it plays out. But it's someone I think the Celtics have legitimate interest in."
Olynyk is averaging 11.5 points, five rebounds and 3.3 assists per game for the Jazz. He is also shooting 40.4 percent from 3-point range and has started all 42 games he's played in.
He could be a solid contributor off the bench and give the Celtics some much-needed frontcourt depth. His ability to stretch the floor as a quality 3-point shooter is a huge bonus, too, and it's a skill that some other centers rumored to be available, such as Jakob Poeltl of the San Antonio Spurs, don't possess.