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Rumor: Celtics interested in Rockets’ Jae’Sean Tate

Tate isn’t exactly the “big wing” that Brad Stevens has said they’re looking for, but he’s an intriguing prospect at the deadline.

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Boston Celtics v Houston Rockets Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

With few avenues to complete a trade at the February 8 deadline, the rumor mill has been relatively silent for the Celtics. However, this little tidbit came from The Athletic’s Kelly Iko, Shams Charania, and Sam Amick in their reporting of the Rockets’ rebuild:

Udoka’s preference is not only to find another big man who can step in when Şengün is on the bench, but one who could potentially play alongside him in certain lineups, akin to Williams and Al Horford during Udoka’s lone season in Boston. Houston can offer expiring contracts in Victor Oladipo and Boban Marjanović — or even longer-term salary like center Landale — in addition to draft capital, such as second-round picks, to facilitate a deal. Alternatively, Jae’Sean Tate, who league sources said is attracting interest from the likes of Boston and Phoenix, is movable.

There are a lot of former and current Celtics listed in that paragraph, but obviously, the one that sticks out is Tate and Boston showing interest in him. The 6’4 former Ohio State Buckeye went undrafted in 2020, but found a home in Houston and signed a three-year, $20.6 million contract in 2022. This season, he’s averaging 4.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in just over 18 minutes per game.

Unfortunately, Tate’s salary this season ($6.5 million) is just a hair over the Grant Williams traded player exception of $6.2 million. He also has a team option for next season at $7 million. President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens could cobble together a handful of minimum contracts to bring him to Boston, but that would only further the depth issue of the Celtics’ bench. The more likely option for the team to fill their 15th open roster spot remains either promoting from within with Neemias Queta as a potential candidate or scouring the buyout market.

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