Celtics make decisions on four players with more trades in mind.
The Celtics have guaranteed the contracts of Luke Kornet, Lamar Stevens, Dalano Banton, and Svi Mykhailiuk. Preserving trade flexibility was only one of the reasons they did it.
Tuesday is the NBA’s deadline for deciding whether to convert non-guaranteed contracts for this season. According to Brian Robb of MassLive, the Boston Celtics made an early decision to do so with the four players on its roster that applied.
It is unsurprising that Luke Kornet, Lamar Stevens, Dalano Banton, and Svi Mykhailiuk’s contracts will be guaranteed for the 2023-24 season.
Kornet is now guaranteed the remaining $2.4 million on his expiring deal. The seven-foot-two center has been playing some of his best basketball as a Celtic since returning from a right adductor injury that kept him out for over a week, including a season-high 20 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and three blocks in a 120-118 win over the Toronto Raptors.
Boston has signed Stevens, Banton, and Svi Mykhailiuk for slightly more than $2 million apiece.
Keeping them on the roster preserves the Celtics’ limited flexibility to make a deal before the February 8 deadline.
As they look for a big wing, a position that president of basketball operations Brad Stevens would like to fill internally, with Oshae Brissett recently bolstering his case, they also have their most valuable tool, a $6.2 million Grant Williams traded player exception (TPE).
While at least one of these four may be nearing the end of their time with the Celtics, signing them was motivated by more than just future transfers.
Like Brissett, the six-foot-six Stevens, a competent rotation player for the Cleveland Cavaliers over the previous two seasons, is capable of filling the team’s need for a large wing.
Banton stands between six-foot-seven and six-foot-nine, with a wingspan of more than six feet ten. He can play and defend anywhere on the perimeter.
When given the opportunity, he’s shown glimpses of what makes him an important component of Boston’s “Stay Ready Crew,” as the team’s lengthy rotation is known.
The 24-year-old Swiss army knife’s deal has a $2.2 million club option for the 2024-25 season, and while there is no guarantee it will be exercised, he is someone worth working with.
Mykhailiuk has only played 15 games, averaging 7.7 minutes per game, but his reputation as a sniper is well-deserved. It’s a talent that might enable him to contribute if given a more constant role.
Thursday, Brad Stevens said of this group, “I’ve been extremely impressed with all those players,” adding, “I don’t want to say what we do or don’t do. I never like to talk in absolutes, but I’ve been quite impressed with all of those men. They’ve all stepped in and done well for us.”
So, as the Celtics consider external possibilities to upgrade their roster, they have an open slot, a $6.2 million TPE, enough draft capital to acquire a viable target, and reasons to stick with each of the four players whose contracts they recently guaranteed.