The Boston Celtics are reportedly on the hunt for some frontcourt depth help on the trade market ahead of the 2023 NBA trade deadline, and there is no shortage of analysts ready with proposals of who the Celtics should consider going after to such an end.
Boston is reportedly looking for low-cost help as a stipulation, with the team ill-disposed to moving most heavy-minutes players in their rotation. With the best record in the NBA at present, that certainly seems a prudent path, but it can also be said that this team's depth still needs a bit of an upgrade if the Celtics want to give themselves a real shot at an NBA title. The Athletic's Jared Weiss and Jay King put together a trade deadline primer in particular with some interesting targets proposed by the duo that could be what Boston might be after.
Let's dive into the various options they mention we haven't addressed much elsewhere and their potential fit with the Celtics squad.
Mason Plumlee - center - Charlotte Hornets
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The 32-year-old, 6-foot-11 big man would give the Celtics another look in their frontcourt, but one that would not be especially helpful outside of specific matchups - and less so in the postseason.
Plumlee is also earning $9 million on an expiring deal, which would make trading the sort of contracts Boston reportedly is open to moving a bit tough.
The Hornets center would not be the worst option out there for the Celtics to pursue if the sweeteners needed were minimal, but we believe Plumlee is one of the less likely options for Boston.
Jalen McDaniels - forward - Charlotte Hornets
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If the 6-foot-9, 25-year-old were available at an affordable ask, his $1.9 million deal for this season could appeal.
McDaniels is still a fairly raw player with no postseason experience but has logged 10.7 points, 4.9 boards, 2.0 assists, and 1.1 steals per game in a significantly larger role than he'd see in Boston.
The Celtics aren't looking for an upside play here and the proven skills McDaniel can bring to the fore would be good for eating regular-season wing minutes, but this move seems less likely than not in our estimation.
PJ Washington - forward/center - Charlotte Hornets
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A little undersized at 6-foot-7, Washington might be the play if the team wants to move on from Grant Williams out of concerns for how much he could make in restricted free agency.
On an expiring $5.8 million deal this season, the Kentucky alum could be re-signed if the fit appears good as well, and his passing (2.3 career assists per game) and shooting (36.5% from deep over his career) would make him an easy fit.
We don't think Boston would be interested if it cost a first, but if an assortment of seconds and young talent could get the job done, this move would be both plausible and a sort of insurance vs. a big offer sheet for Williams as well.
Mo Bamba - center - Orlando Magic
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If you want rim protection and shooting in a big man, Bamba could intrigue as a target, with the Texas alum shooting 39.8% from 3 this season while averaging a block per contest.
His involvement in a recent on-court altercation might drop his asking price ever so slightly, but the Magic may want to hang onto him and his $10.3 million salary for this and next season is a bit harder to match in a trade/
We think this route possibly if unlikely, though his skillset would make him playable next to any bigs in Boston's rotation - albeit with no postseason experience.
Keita Bates-Diop - forward - San Antonio Spurs
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A very plausible target for the Celtics as a 6-foot-8, 27-year-old wing on a rebuilding team earning just $1.8 million on an expiring deal, this is the sort of player Boston will likely be after if they can't consolidate contracts into a bigger-name player.
Putting up 7.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and an assist per game in a slightly larger role than they'd likely see with the Celtics, Bates-Diop has a smidgen of postseason experience as well.
But the Ohio State alum - shooting 35.9% from beyond the arc this season - would be more of a regular-season depth option than a playoff piece barring an injury.
Derrick Jones Jr. - forward - Chicago Bulls
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A bit undersized for the 3/4 range he plays with the Bulls at 6-foot-5, the nearly 26-year-old could make sense for Boston given his smaller role in Chicago (in which he is logging 5.5 points and 2.6 boards while shooting 34.7% from 3 would not be asking the Pennsylvania native to change his game much.
His $3.3 million salary is absorbable into the team's $5.8 million TPE, with a player option he'll likely pick up worth $3.6 million the season after a potential route for keeping him around on the cheap.
And though he has a fair amount of postseason experience, his role in it has been minimal, meaning Jones would also be more of a regular-season depth option that is a plausible direction for the Cs if bigger names fizzle.
Furkan Korkmaz - forward - Philadelphia 76ers
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The Sixers might be looking to move Korkmaz, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard with a career 35.4% 3-point shot averaging 3.8 points and 1.2 rebounds per game in a role like what he would have in Boston given his request for a trade.
Earning $5 million this season and $5.3 next, Korkmaz would be a decent option if the Celtics strike out elsewhere, but he's also not that much better than the players he'd likely be dealt for.
The Turkish wing has shown he can stay on the floor in a limited postseason role, but we think the Celtics could do better.
Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire