For the second straight offseason, the Boston Celtics have managed to make lemonade out of lemons when losing a key free agent. During the 2020 offseason, Boston convinced the Charlotte Hornets to make signing Gordon Hayward into a sign-and-trade transaction. This cost the Celtics two second round picks, but they created the largest Traded Player Exception (TPE) in NBA history in the deal. Boston used a portion of that $28.5 million TPE to acquire Evan Fournier at the 2021 trade deadline.
Now, Fournier is off to New York in another sign-and-trade orchestrated by Boston.
The Celtics worked with the New York Knicks to create a TPE of $17.1 million in exchange for two future second round picks. New York sent Boston cash to complete the deal. Sources told CelticsBlog that one of the second round picks is the top-55 protected second rounder Boston received from Charlotte in the Hayward transaction. That pick was highly unlikely to convey and isn’t much of a loss for the Celtics.
While it stings to lose a key free agent, Danny Ainge and now Brad Stevens, have done excellent work to mitigate the loss as much as possible by creating valuable trade exception. Ainge used part of the Hayward TPE to acquire Fournier, while Stevens used the remainder to acquire Josh Richardson from the Dallas Mavericks.
Boston now has the following TPEs to work with this season:
- $17.1 million - Evan Fournier
- $9.7 million - Tristan Thompson
- $5.0 million - Daniel Theis
The Celtics also have a handful of smaller TPEs, but all are less than the rookie minimum salary and are virtually unusable.
The Theis TPE will expire in mid-February, around the 2022 trade deadline. Both the Fournier and Thompson TPEs will be good into the 2022 offseason.
For a refresher on what a TPE is and how it can and can’t be used, read this article from last offseason about the Hayward TPE:
Just substitute Hayward for Fournier and $28.5 million for $17.1 million and you’re well on your way!