By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — If you were expecting a grand display of fireworks from the Celtics on trade deadline day, you should have known better. But Danny Ainge did pull off a pretty solid move that will provide the team with some much-needed scoring off the bench.READ MORE: Danny Ainge Says Celtics Have Started Vaccinating, But Some Players & Staff Are Holding Out
The Celtics acquired swingman Evan Fournier from the Orlando Magic early in the day Thursday, and then later sent big man Daniel Theis to the Chicago Bulls at the deadline buzzer in a move to get the team under the luxury tax. Fournier is a good pickup, but the Celtics could have used a lot more to help a team that sits two games under .500.
Here’s a quick rundown of Ainge’s wheeling and dealing on Thursday:
What The Celtics Got
Evan Fournier: In Fournier, the Celtics snag a really talented offensive player who is averaging a career-best 20 points per game this season off 46 percent shooting from the floor. He’s also knocking down 39 percent of his shots from downtown, which will be a welcome addition to Boston’s bench. He doesn’t play much defense, but Fournier fills a need in Boston, and that is what’s most important.
The Celtics used part of their traded player exception from Gordon Hayward’s departure to take on Fournier’s $17 million salary. Ainge will still have about $11 million of the exception to use over the offseason. There were dreams that he’d add a star with that exception, but it doesn’t seem like that was ever a reality. Teams usually want something good for good players — not just a trade exception. At least Fournier should be able to do some of the things that Boston has sorely missed this season, which is hit shots pretty consistently.
Fournier is a free agent after this season, but the C’s will retain his Bird Rights, which is good because they are going to be way over the cap this summer. Look for Boston to try to re-sign Fournier this offseason, or try to recoup some assets and — here we go again — another TPE with a sign-and-trade.
Mo Wagner: For Theis, Boston received Wagner, a 6-foot-11 center who averaged 7.1 points and just 2.9 rebounds in 25 games for the Washington Wizards. Wagner will be a free agent after the season.
It’s part of a complicated three-team trade also brings 7-foot-2 big man Luke Kornet to Boston. It’s unclear if Kornet will stick around, or if he’ll be waived to make room for a potential buy-out player. He played just 13 games for the Bulls this season, his fourth in the NBA.
What The Celtics Sent Out
Daniel Theis: Theis was a solid player who knew his role on the team. He started 106 games for Boston in his four years with the Celtics. Now “The War On Theis” will take place in the Windy City.
But moving him for Wagner gets Boston under the luxury tax and clears up the logjam at center, and should open up more playing time for Robert Williams the rest of the way.READ MORE: Jayson Tatum Helping Evan Fournier Through COVID-19 Recovery Process
Jeff Teague: The disappointing guard was sent to the Magic as part of the Fournier trade, but he will be waived by Orlando and become a free agent. Teague struggled mightily in his 35 games with the Celtics, averaging just 6.9 points. He scored 19 points in an impressive debut on opening night, but played way too much iso ball and found himself in the doghouse, with 10 DNPs during the season.
Javonte Green: A decent end-of-bench guy, Green appeared in 25 games for the Celtics, including two desperation starts when Boston was depleted by injuries.
Two Second-Round Picks: Yes, you read that correctly. Ainge parted with second-round picks for Fournier! If his first deadline day trade in six years wasn’t surprising enough (sorry, dumping Jabari Byrd two years ago doesn’t really count), then this is even more shocking.
But getting Fournier for two seconds and Teague is a steal for the Celtics, even if it could have some cap ramifications further down the road.
What The Celtics Didn’t Get
Aaron Gordon: The Celtics were long rumored to be in on the Gordon sweepstakes, but he went to the Denver Nuggets for a package that included Gary Harris, RJ Hampton and a first-round pick.
What The Competition Did
The 76ers are the best team in the East and they added George Hill in a three-team deal. The Heat got a whole lot better by acquiring/stealing Victor Oladipo from the Rockets for a bunch of former Celtics (Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley and a draft swap).
The Bulls sit just 1.5 games back of the Celtics for the eight-seed at the moment, and they made one of the biggest moves of the day for Orlando center Nikola Vucevic and Al Farouq Aminu.
Kyle Lowry was one of the hottest names on the block the last week, but he remained in Toronto.
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Assuming the C’s will waive Kornet, the team will have an open roster spot should someone want to join the mix off the buyout market. Given Boston currently sits in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, its not the most appealing destination for buyout guys, but we’ll see. Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge are names to keep an eye on, though they’ll likely want to head somewhere with much better title odds this season. Otto Porter was part of Chicago’s trade package for Vucevic and is expected to be bought out by Orlando, so he’s another player to monitor should he hit the open market.