The Celtics trade with the Pistons in need of a rebounder


Courtesy of

Avery Bradley celebrates as he plays on the court for the Celtics

Adam Aaronson , Eastside Staff

In order to clear salary cap room to sign prized free agent Gordon Hayward, the Celtics dealt Avery Bradley and a 2019 second-round pick to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Marcus Morris.

The Celtics had to move either Bradley, Jae Crowder or Marcus Smart in order to make the room for Hayward. Crowder was expected to be the odd man out, and while he could still eventually be moved, it seems Bradley will be the one to go. Bradley, who is the better player, was likely the one traded because his contract expires after the upcoming season. It would have been nearly impossible for the Celtics to bring back Bradley and Isaiah Thomas, who will also hit the market next summer.

While it does allow them to bring in a much better player, losing Bradley hurts the Celtics on the defensive end. If they want to have a chance at beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason, it will be a lot harder without Bradley, who can guard Cleveland star Kyrie Irving better than just about anyone.

Morris technically fills a need for the Celtics as a versatile forward, but his skillset doesn’t mesh well with the rest of their team at all. The Celtics need more size, strength and rebounding down low, but he isn’t a big or strong player for his position, and rebounding is one of his biggest weaknesses. The Celtics need to pursue a great rebounder before they stop making moves this offseason. Otherwise, the pair of Morris and Al Horford will make for one of the worst rebounding frontcourts in the league.

For a team in Detroit that tends to make short-sighted and foolish moves, this is a very pleasant outlier. They already had multiple options in the frontcourt, so moving Morris will not leave a hole in the roster. Bradley is a much better player, perfect for coach Stan Van Gundy and his intense focus on defense. Detroit did a great job pouncing on the opportunity to grab a great player from a team desperate to move him.

Another key result of this trade is the free agency destination of Pistons swingman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Caldwell-Pope is a restricted free agent, meaning the Pistons can match any offer sheet he signs. But it now seems increasingly unlikely that they bring him back, considering Bradley has such a similar array of talents. Expect a team like the Nets to immediately pursue him.

For the Celtics, this trade was a move made strictly because of their need to be cost-cutting. For Detroit, it’s a great job of taking advantage of a team who had to get rid of a very good player.