There are no talks right now between the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors regarding big man Kelly Olynyk, but there’s a good chance that a bit later in the season the two sides will begin talking and even come up with a trade.
Olynyk is part of a group of Celtics players that are OK, nothing more. Olynyk brings 20 minutes and 10 points per game to the table like clockwork, but the Celtics don’t want more consistency from him. They want more excellence out of the former Gonzaga star, who was the 13th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, and hasn’t been able to really establish himself in the team’s lineup, starting in 30 of his 203 regular season games.
Olynyk is probably most famous for, up to this point in his career, dislocating Kevin Love’s shoulder in the 2015 NBA playoffs and who knows, maybe costing the Cavaliers an NBA title. He gives the Celtics that big man who can shoot 3’s (40% last season on 3 attempts per game), but the Celtics rarely see what they consider high level basketball from him, and on a team that’s no longer about assembling middle level talent and figuring things out later, Olynyk might be surplus to demand.
The Raptors need some outside shooting from their bigs, and have had their eyes on Olynyk for some time. The Celtics could have given him a rookie extension by now, but chose not too, and probably prefer someone else has the free agency (Restricted) headache with Olynyk, who makes $3.09 million in 2016-2017 before becoming a free agent. It’s worth mentioning that Olynyk missed 13 games last season, and hasn’t played more than 70 games in one season so far, dealing with a shoulder injury that required surgery at the end of the season.
Olynyk has a place in the NBA as a rotation big man, and comes in very handy for teams that want shooting out of their big men. But with everyone eyeing huge salaries, Olynyk is probably going to be chasing one as well once it’s time for him to sit down with teams and whoever plays him last, and at the moment it seems like a decision the Celtics rather leave to someone else. The Raptors, who have the same intentions as the Celtics this season, could make better use of Olynyk’s skills.