Brad Stevens explains Celtics' thinking behind Bol Bol trade


Wednesday's three-team trade didn't exactly turn the Celtics into title contenders. But in Brad Stevens' estimation, it did make Boston better.

The Celtics acquired Bol Bol and P.J. Dozier from the Denver Nuggets while sending Juancho Hernangomez to the San Antonio Spurs in a move that freed up about $3 million in cap space and also created a $6.9 million traded player exception for Boston.

You won't see Bol or Dozier anytime soon -- Bol just had foot surgery and is sidelined 10-12 weeks, while Dozier is out for the season with a torn ACL -- but Stevens says Bol's potential was a big motivator in completing the trade.

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"Obviously there's a lot of factors. There's some flexibility involved in that as we move forward here," the Celtics' president of basketball operations said Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich" radio show.

"Obviously we've had P.J. here, we know him well, and we like Bol's upside. We knew that both weren't going to play."

Stevens admitted the Celtics had their eye on Bol for "a while" and thought they missed their opportunity to land him when Denver agreed to trade the 7-foot-2 center to the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 10. The deal was voided after Bol failed his physical, though, and the C's swooped in just over a week later to acquire a player they hope to see before the end of the regular season.

"That actual deal was something that we had discussed for a while," Stevens said. "We thought it was off when Bol got traded to Detroit, and then it kind of came back on.

"... We are able to evaluate him here, work with him here, spend time with him here, hopefully see him at the end of the season and/or work with him after the season before he hits restricted free agency. So, that's a big part of it, is that he's restricted and not going into free agency unrestricted."

The 22-year-old Bol showed flashes of upside in Denver but has appeared in only 53 games over three NBA seasons. It sounds like he's a project worth investing in for Boston, however, and Stevens jumped at the opportunity to add him while gaining more financial flexibility as the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline nears.

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