Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Celtics reportedly linked to Pistons forward Isaiah Stewart

The Celtics are off to a 20-5 start, but that doesn't mean they are still not looking to boast their roster.

With the Detroit Pistons heading in the other direction, currently riding a 23-game losing streak, Boston may be on of the few teams interested in acquiring one of their rotation players

According to James Edward III of The Athletic, the Celtics along with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Dallas Mavericks have shown "great interest" in Pistons power forward Isaiah Stewart.

The 22-year old could solidify Boston's frontcourt depth, as Stewart is averaging 10.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists over 25 games this season.

Known for his toughness on the defensive end, the 6-foot-8 forward would give the Celtics even more versatility to a team looking to make a deep run to the NBA Finals.

However, Stewart's contract (signed a four-year $60 million extension this past offseason) will make it difficult to trade for, as Boston already finds themselves above luxury tax territory. Still, even with Stewart's current deal including a team option in the final year, it might be tough to make that work given that Jayson Tatum is expected to sign a massive supermax extension in the summer of 2024.

It's clear that Brad Stevens is looking to put his roster over the top as trade season begins to heat up. Earlier this month, league inside Shams Charania spoke on FanDuel TV's "Run It Back" about the Celtics expecting to be in the market to add to their second unit.

On Monday, Charania reiterated once again on the same show that Stevens has prioritized getting bench help in the upcoming weeks ahead of February's NBA trade deadline.
"They still have assets left over," Charania said on Fan Duel TV. "Let me make this clear because last time I wasn't clear: The Celtics will be active in the trade market to pursue bench help. They want to see what's out there in the marketplace in terms of bench depth and seeing what you can secure near the end of your bench… This is a team that is definitely top-heavy, if you want to say.

"These are good problems to have. Their first six are as elite as it comes. If you can get seven and eight to a high level. But again, come playoff time, the rotations do think. They're going to get a lot more tighter… They're going to be aggressive in just seeing what could be out there."
Fortunately, the Celtics have some resources to fall back on to possibly add some insurance to its roster which includes: an open roster spot, control of their own first-round picks through 2028 and a total of 12 picks overall in the next five drafts. Plus, Stevens also has a $6.2 million trade exception in his back pocket -- created when Grant Williams was dealt to the Mavs in a sign-and-trade last summer.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Yahoo! Sports

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