NBA Rumors: Could Celtics pursue Kevin Huerter in trade with Hawks?

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Is Hawks' Kevin Huerter a realistic trade target for Celtics? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

If the Boston Celtics make a (relatively) significant move this offseason, it will need to happen soon.

Brad Stevens' biggest asset this summer is a $17.1 million traded player exception that the Celtics can use to acquire one or more players without having to match salaries in the deal. The catch: The TPE expires on July 18.

There are some pretty solid NBA players making less than $17.1 million next season -- including Atlanta Hawks wing Kevin Huerter.

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In the wake of the Dejounte Murray trade, The Athletic's Chris Kirschner and Sam Amick report that it's "possible" the Atlanta Hawks look to trade Huerter or teammate Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Celtics apparently mulled adding Huerter ahead of the 2022 NBA trade deadline, reportedly discussing the framework of a deal that would have sent Marcus Smart to Atlanta for Huerter and Cam Reddish.

So, should Stevens give Hawks general manager Landry Fields a call about Huerter?

The 6-foot-7 wing is a very good shooter and would fill Boston's need for scoring off the bench; he averaged 12.1 points per game last season on a career-high 45.4 percent shooting while hitting 38.9 percent of his 3-pointers. He'd likely be one of the Celtics' weaker defenders but is a solid facilitator (3.2 assists per game over his career) who is on a favorable contract ($16.3 million per year through 2026).

Huerter wouldn't come cheap; The Athletic's Jared Weiss suggested the Hawks may want more than a first-round pick in a deal for the 23-year-old, meaning the Celtics may have to part with a core rotation player.

Stevens may not want to break up a core group that just reached the NBA Finals. But Atlanta doesn't have much guard depth behind Murray and Trae Young, so perhaps Boston could package Payton Pritchard and a first-rounder for Huerter.

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While Pritchard was an occasional spark off the bench in 2021-22, that'd be a deal that Stevens would have to seriously consider, as Huerter is a much more reliable scorer who would boost a second unit that struggled mightily against the Golden State Warriors in the Finals.

Considering the length of Huerter's deal, the Celtics would have to view him as a very strong fit to bring him in via trade. So, it's possible they target a player who's more of a rental as they eye a title push in 2022-23. But at the very least, the four-year veteran should be on Boston's radar.