With December 15 just days away, the NBA world is starting to think about the trade deadline, which is now just a few months away. A league-wide total of 75 players who signed free agent deals in the offseason on Dec. 15 are now available to be parted elsewhere as teams across the association look to increase their cap at a critical point in the season. With the Boston Celtics atop the NBA rankings, Brad Stevens isn’t doing as much work as many clubs sitting on the fringes of the postseason.
The most glaring hole on the Boston Celtics roster is still the third big man, Al Horford and Robert Williams III, who struggle to stay on the floor consistently. The Celtics have six traded players on waivers and $3.2 million on disabled player Danilo Gallinari after it was announced after FIBA World Cup qualifying that he suffered a torn ACL. All TPEs expired by February 10, 2022. Boston could offer up to three unprotected first-round picks or any of the second-round picks over the next few seasons.
Despite the fact that the Celtics are paying nearly $26 million in luxury tax, Boston has plenty of ways to match salary should they find the perfect rotation player to fill a role on a team trying to overcome its first setbacks. Even with the use of all these assets in the trade market, there isn’t much point in using them given the number of players that have been released so far this campaign.
Almost every Boston Celtics fan was looking for a way to turn down Luke Cornett as the third big man, but after nearly three months in the rotation, he’s done nothing but impress more than anyone would have thought.
From his personality on and off the court to his impact in such a short amount of time, Cornette has mastered his role while many in the NBA believed he could be that guy. Kornet has been a fixture for many teams over the years, but for the first time since the 2019/2020 campaign, the former Vanderbilt product has contributed more than 20 games for a single team. No one knows how the new player is going to perform on this team that has been playing good basketball all season.
Is a player like Jakob Poeltl ready to accept more of a bench role, even though he’s started every game he’s played for the Spurs this season? Whether it’s his creative celebrations after the basket or his unforgettable postgame press conferences, Cornette’s personality is truly one of a kind. From his Kornet Contest success to his hilarious comparisons to Stromile Swift, there’s a lot to be said for a guy who brings a carefree presence everywhere he goes.
Joe Mazzulla knows Cornette fits the bench, and after a strange stretch early in the season, the interim head coach is trusting the two seven-foot centers at different points throughout the game. With all the injuries, a third center will be important for Boston moving forward, and with all these assets to use in a trade before the deadline, the Celtics have a proven answer without much work to do. Sure, Cornette doesn’t blow anyone out of the water with his athleticism or shooting ability, but if anyone thought he would be this productive in his minutes this season, they were lying.
Bismack Biyombo is definitely a higher-ceiling player who can provide defensive toughness along with a strong rebounding presence in the paint, but who knows if he can have as much of an impact in contests coming off the bench in comparison. Cornet. As an effective pick-and-roll defender who has scored important points in some games, like against Oklahoma City, there haven’t been many complaints when it comes to Cornett, although many would like to think there is;
Luke Cornett has been an underrated source of offense for the Boston Celtics
According to Cleaning the Glass , Luke Cornett is averaging a career-high 146.9 points per 100 shot attempts, ranking him in the 97th percentile among players at his position. Of the 626 field goals Cornette has taken for Boston this season, the Celtics are outscoring their opponents by more than 10 points with a quality field goal percentage of 48.7 percent. Boston has allowed the third-fewest shots per game of any team in the NBA from under five feet, and while Cornett doesn’t have the biggest role in that, it can be argued that he has done Williams III as admirably as possible as a rim protector.
For Boston Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla to have the confidence to start Cornetti in overtime against the Lakers says a lot, even though his options were few. Using his length and ability to position himself in the right way to change the opponent’s shot on a regular basis, Cornett was an extremely serviceable defender. There will be mistakes with Cornette, he’s not a perfect player, but what he brought to Boston this season is more positive than negative. Some may say he can’t be a productive player when called upon in the postseason, but at the end of the day, how many minutes will this third big get?
Sure, I may be a Kornet homer, but the numbers and efficiency don’t lie. It’s hard not to embrace a player like Cornett, especially given the attitude he exudes in battle and postgame. If you haven’t jumped on the Kornet bandwagon yet and are looking for another answer as a third baseman for the Big Cs, remember Brad Stevens, one of the smartest minds in basketball who kept the faith in Kornet unwavering all summer long. a bit when news of Robert Williams broke.
There’s no question the Boston Celtics need to make at least one move before the deadline, but does it really make sense to disrupt a solution that’s more than working for now?