Brad Stevens addresses how Celtics could use TPEs to improve roster in offseason

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Stevens addresses how Celtics could use TPEs to improve roster in offseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics don’t have the luxury of salary cap space this summer, but there are other tools the team can use to upgrade its roster before the 2022-23 NBA season.

One of those avenues is trade player exceptions (aka TPEs).

The Celtics have three of them.

They have a $17.1 million TPE from the sign-and-trade that sent Evan Fournier to the New York Knicks last summer. They have a $6.9 million TPE from the Juancho Hernangomez trade involving the San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets. And, lastly, Boston has a $5.9 million TPE from the Dennis Schroder trade with the Houston Rockets.

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Those are some good-sized TPEs that could be used to bring in quality role players.

How are the Celtics looking at using these TPEs? Here’s what president of basketball operations Brad Stevens told reporters on a Zoom call Monday.

“I think the trade exception — there’s a reason why a lot of the trade exceptions go unused,” Stevens said.

“We have a bunch of them right now. We have one that expires, obviously the big one expires in July. We’ve got a couple of others that expire later. They’re all reasonable amounts that we can take good players in with. So you balance that on, OK, what’s the cost that you’re going to have to pay, are you going to bring somebody in that’s going to add to, not necessarily take away, which you obviously don’t want to do.

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“So it’s still about being prudent and thoughtful about what the deal is. We’re going through the whole list. We’re trying to find guys who fit what we need and will fit in with how we want to play and how Ime (Udoka) wants to coach.”

Which areas of the roster should the Celtics look to improve with these TPEs?

Well, bench scoring definitely needs to be addressed. The Celtics don’t have a consistent scorer/shooter coming off the bench who can provide valuable offense whenever Jayson Tatum and/or Jaylen Brown are struggling or need a rest. Derrick White, Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard filled those role well in spurts last season, but consistency was an issue for all three.

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A playmaker, or a true point guard, also would be a nice upgrade. Marcus Smart did a good job becoming a more pass-first guard in the second half of the season and in the playoffs, but based on the team’s high level of turnovers throughout the postseason, adding another playmaker would make a lot of sense.

The Celtics are lucky that they don’t need to make major changes this offseason. A few minor improvements to the bench should be enough to help the C’s make another deep playoff run in 2023.

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