Danny Ainge was recently on 98.5 The Sport’s Hub’s Toucher and Rich show and mentioned who the Celtics will target with their traded player exception.

“Shooting, with size.” is what Danny Ainge had to say when addressing the Celtics needs. Based on the team’s play from the first quarter of the NBA season, we created a list of players who the Celtics could target with the TPE.

Potential players available

  • John Collins – ATL
  • Otto Porter Jr. – CHI
  • Will Barton – DEN
  • Wayne Ellington – DET
  • Jerami Grant – DET
  • Victor Oladipo – HOU
  • Eric Gordon – HOU
  • Nicolas Batum – LAC
  • JJ Redick – NOP
  • Julius Randle – NYK
  • George Hill – OKC
  • Al Horford – OKC 
  • Evan Fournier – ORL
  • Terrence Ross – ORL
  • Aaron Gordon – ORL
  • Jae Crowder – PHX
  • Dejonte Murray – SAS
  • Buddy Hield – SAC
  • Harrison Barnes – SAC
  • Nemanja Bjelica – SAC
  • Aron Baynes – TOR

There are obvious differences between shooting, and “shooting with size.” By adding “with size,” Ainge just eliminated a few names that have been floating around Celtics Twitter like JJ Redick, George Hill and Victor Oladipo. There’s also a big difference between size with shooting, and “shooting with size,” too. We DON’T need players like Julius Randle, John Collins, or even Aaron Gordon. Randle is having a great year, but Ainge has his eyes set on a certain type of player.

Best players for the Celtics to target

Best players for the Celtics to target

Stats based on the last 10 games:

  • Will Barton – DEN
    • 11.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.2 APG (43.6%/46.7%/80%)

Barton would provide a much needed boost to the guard position with Marcus Smart sidelined. At six-foot-five, Barton can defend multiple positions and is a definite upgrade from current Celtics guards like Jeff Teague and Tremont Waters. Denver does this deal to maximize the potential of Michael Porter Jr.

  • Wayne Ellington – DET
    • 14.4 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.5 APG (51.1%/54.1%/72.7%)

Not the ideal trade target for the Celtics, but Ellington is a certified sniper. Currently making $9.2 million per season, the Celtics can use a portion of the TPE on Ellington. Shooting 54% in his last ten games, I may be willing to sacrifice size for Wayne Ellington.

  • Eric Gordon – HOU
    • 20.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 2.9 APG (48.1%/40.3%/81%)

He is playing some of the best defense of his career, Eric Gordon is the perfect fit for the Celtics if they want to sacrifice a bit of size. His ability to defend multiple positions makes up for his 6’4 stature. Currently averaging twenty points per game on a Houston Rockets team on the brink of a fire sale, the Celtics should look to make a move.

  • Terrence Ross – ORL
    • 12.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.4 APG (38.9%/28.8%/88%)

Although he is six-foot-six-inches, Terrence Ross is not exactly a best fit in terms of size, but he definitely can shoot the ball, or at least, he used to… Ross is in a bit of a slump right now, but with a change in uniform, the 29-year old sharpshooter can provide a boost of consistent bench scoring for the Celtics.

  • Harrison Barnes – SAC
    • 16.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.1 APG (45.9%/39.6%/95.3%)

Harrison Barnes is an easy pick for the best players for the Celtics to target with the TPE, simply because of his shooting and playmaking ability. Barnes was a player that I wanted to trade Gordon Hayward for in this past offseason due to the similarities in the way the two can play off of stars. Hayward with the Jays, and Barnes with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. If the Celtics can cash in on their TPE, this is the guy fans should want.

  • Nemanja Bjelica – SAC
    • 8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.8 APG (46.5%/39%/77.5%) *Career*

Bjelica hasn’t logged many minutes, he may benefit from a change of scenery. Look at his career numbers and tell me that isn’t “shooting with size.” If the Celtics can’t land Barnes, maybe Sacramento would be willing to part ways with a player they barely use?

Trade scenarios for the Celtics to explore

Here are the top three players for the Celtics to target with the TPE.

Best players for the Celtics to target with the TPE?

Sacramento should look to trading Barnes to acquire cap relief to build around De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, while adding a future first round pick. Boston does this deal for obvious reasons: cash in on the TPE for a player that has “shooting, with size” and make a “win now” move to compete with Brooklyn, Milwuakee and Philadelphia.

Best players for the Celtics to target with the TPE?

Houston should look to trade Eric Gordon for the same reason as the last traded, to acquire cap relief to build. Boston does this deal to bolster its depth and shooting ability. Gordon would come in to a situation where he can play solid minutes and compete for a championship. The only downside to this trade is the additional three years of paying Gordon an average of $16.8 million.

Best players for the Celtics to target with the TPE?

If Denver is looking to trade Will Barton, it’s to thin out the roster to create a larger role for MPJ. By adding a future first round pick, Denver relieves salary while maintaining a talented roster. If Boston trades for Barton, they’d have to create a roster spot by dealing Carsen Edwards, which isn’t too heartbreaking.

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Adam Kemp

TheCelticsJournal - Senior Writer

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