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Pistons renounce rights to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope amid Avery Bradley trade
08 July 2017, 12:31 | Candice Butler
INDIANAPOLIS IN – FEBRUARY 24 Marc Gasol
The Celtics are also better with Morris and Hayward, who factored into this deal.
From a purely rational standpoint, there was an overwhelming case that Bradley was the best option. He is now an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team he chooses.
The Celtics, who earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last season, reached the conference finals a year ago and added prized free agent Gordon Hayward, along with No. 3 pick Jayson Tatum, during the offseason.
In the worst-case scenario, the Celtics would have lost two of their core players (one by trade, Bradley by free agency). Most importantly, this trade should allow Boston to sign Hayward without having to trade Crowder or Marcus Smart. Bradley now brings some extra scoring punch - he averaged more points than any Pistons player last season.
Still, there's a reason Bradley is so coveted. Meanwhile, he would have provided both much-needed defense and much-needed shooting. He might be even considered the best perimeter defender in the National Basketball Association as of now.
Trading Bradley puts pressure on Smart to become a capable enough 3-point shooter to stay on the court late in games and deep in the playoffs. If the Celtics are committed to building around Thomas, his teammates will need to be able to help, defend multiple positions, box out and generally do all of the things that Thomas - for all of his admirable effort - simply can't. There will be many teams willing to throw big money at a player who can shut down Kyrie Irving and limit Stephen Curry.
After that trade, the Pistons are only $16.5 million beneath the NBA's hard cap, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks, meaning they could not match any offers on Pope if they were more expensive than that number.
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