NEWS SPLASH: Reportedly, Celtics Show Interest in $37 Million Stretch Big

Because the Boston Celtics have crossed the league’s second tax apron, they can’t sign anyone who makes more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception. In layman’s terms, they can’t sign anyone who makes more than $12.4 million. One player who fits beneath that line is Kelly Olynyk, and the Celtics have interest in him.

NBA Insider Marc Stein reported that Olynyk has drawn interest from the Celtics as well as other contenders who have crossed the league’s second tax apron. Because of how much he makes, he could sign with the Celtics if the Utah Jazz buy him out.

“One hypothetical example: Utah’s Kelly Olynyk, who is known to interest Boston and other contenders, would be eligible to sign with any of those teams if he parted ways with the Jazz via buyout because he’s earning $12.2 million in Salt Lake City,” Stein wrote in a January 29 story.

Olynyk is in the last year of a three-year, $37 million contract with the Jazz. The Jazz could buy him out, but Olynyk’s inexpensive and expiring contract is also easy to trade. They will try that first before they waive him.

Celtics ‘Are Monitoring’ Kelly Olynyk Situation: Report

This is not the first time Stein has mentioned the Celtics’ interest in Kelly Olynyk during the 2023-24 season. Stein reported on Christmas Day 2023 that the Celtics were keeping their eye on their former lottery pick.

“League sources say Boston is among the teams that is monitoring Utah’s Kelly Olynyk in advance of a potential trade pursuit,” Stein reported. “Olynyk, as covered here before my Showcase trip, is one of a number of Jazz veterans known to be available, and the Celtics obviously know him well.”

The Celtics have one roster spot open that they could use on Olynyk if the Jazz buy him out. However, Olynyk would have to compete for minutes with Kristaps Porzingis, Al Horford, and Luke Kornet. That may not hold much appeal to Olynyk, especially since he’ll be a free agent again in 2024.

Celtics Had Interest in Kelly Olynyk in 2023: Report

Kelly Olynyk has drawn interest from the Celtics in previous seasons. On February 2, 2023, Heavy Sports’ Steve Bulpett reported that the Celtics were among two teams who wanted Olynyk.

“A source close to the Heat tells Heavy Sports the club is interested in a reunion with Kelly Olynyk — and that Miami isn’t his only suitor. The Celtics are also said to be looking at the possibility of re-acquiring the 6-11 floor-spacing big man, who spent his first four NBA seasons in Boston.”

Olynyk also has a history with the Heat, having played for them from 2017 to 2021. In Bulpett’s report, an executive cast doubt that either team could reunite with Olynyk.

“According to a league executive with knowledge of the situation, the Celts are still trying to learn what it would take to get Olynyk from the Jazz, but an Eastern Conference source whose club has been working the market for a center/power forward doesn’t believe the Heat or Celtics will be able to meet what Utah wants for Olynyk, averaging 11.9 points on 49.5 percent shooting (40.6 pct. on 3-pointers).”

With Olynyk’s contract expiring, maybe times have changed. The Jazz are 24-24, but it’s not clear what direction they’re going in. It’s very possible that they may try to win more games but may move on from Olynyk regardless.

Matt John covers the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns for A Massachusetts native, he has covered the NBA since 2018, with stops at FanSided, Basketball News and Basketball Insiders. More about Matt John

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