NBA Trade Rumors: Could the Boston Celtics turn to a forgotten LA Clippers guard as a potential trade deadline target?
Songwriter Reba McEntire once said, "To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone."
What about another type of bone, or better yet, bones plural? In this instance, we are talking about Bones Hyland, the combo guard for the LA Clippers. Three years ago, Hyland blew up the NBA scene with the Denver Nuggets, with net-torching offensive performances, not necessarily expected from a rookie who was selected with the 26th overall pick in the draft. Overall, Hyland averaged 10.1 points, 2.8 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game on a respectable shooting line of 40.3/36.6/85.6 (FG%/3PT%/FT%).
The following season he upped his points per game to 11.8 between the Nuggets and the Clippers (he was traded from Denver to LA midseason).
This season, Hyland is averaging his lowest minutes per game of his career, at 15.7. The 23-year-old guard's shooting efficiency isn't great and it seems like the Clippers aren't going out of their way to put him on the court. He has appeared in 14 games this season, and the addition of James Harden seemingly is putting Hyland in the boneyard as the odd man out. With Russell Westbrook and Terrence Mann seemingly needing minutes, he will only continue to be buried.
Would the Boston Celtics be able to afford Bones Hyland?
This begs the question, could the Boston Celtics pick up some cheap guard depth by adding Hyland for a second-round pick? The Celtics have multiple second-round picks this upcoming draft, so the draft capital is there to lessen the worry of wasting a potentially valuable asset.
Financially, Hyland is set to make $2.3M this year, with a team option for $4.1M next year. That is not very much money to take a flyer on a potential microwave scorer. Hyland's contract would fit right into the trade exception created by moving on from Grant Williams in the offseason. In fact, absorbing all of Hyland's salary, and having no outgoing salary, the Celtics would still have roughly $4M left in their trade exception to use for future trades.
So if the Celtics aren't sacrificing draft capital, and they aren't sacrificing financial capital, I think that this is a no-brainer trade for the Celtics. To take a chance on a team-controlled, 23-year-old combo guard who can catch fire at any time would be a great move for the C's. They could mask his defensive deficiencies similarly to how they currently do with Payton Pritchard.
Would the Clippers accept an upcoming second-round pick for a 23-year-old, cost-controlled combo guard who doesn't play? I truly don't see why not. There really shouldn't be much of a hangup. With the NBA's new CBA financial penalties in place for teams over the salary cap, young, cheap assets are all the rage. This means teams have more reason now than ever to find hidden gems in the draft and the undrafted free-agent market. Well, the Clippers just sacrificed a lot of their draft capital in their trade with the Philadelphia 76ers for James Harden.
So in theory, they would essentially be receiving a second-round pick for nothing, because as it currently stands, Hyland does not have a meaningful spot on the roster, nor is he being given the chance to achieve one. If I'm the Clips, I probably ask for two seconds from the Celtics, but I'd still do it for one. What do you think the Clippers would say?