Report: The Celtics ‘Were A Finalist’ To Trade For Nikola Vucevic

This season hasn’t quite gone as planned for the Boston Celtics. First, they were decimated because of COVID protocols earlier in the season which caused multiple players to miss significant time, but they’ve also been hobbled by injuries and inconsistent play, which has led them to where they are now, in the precarious No. 8 spot, with just a game-and-a-half separating them from the 10th-place Bulls.

It’s quite a predicament for a team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals last season and was picked as one of the early favorites to win the East this year. As such, you could be forgiven for thinking they might try to make a move at the trade deadline and shore up a front line that was been lacking all season.

As it turns out, they ended up as also-rans in both the Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon sweepstakes.

Via Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

According to league sources, in addition to their well-documented courtship of Aaron Gordon, the Celtics were a finalist for Magic All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, including multiple first-round picks as part of their package. Orlando ultimately sent Vucevic to the Bulls in exchange for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr. and two first-round picks.

The Celtics also offered a first-round pick and a young player to Orlando in exchange for Gordon, sources said, and they were prepared to add to that haul, but the Magic accepted Denver’s offer, which included Gary Harris Jr., R.J. Hampton and a first-round pick, before Boston had a chance.

While the Celtics did end up with Evan Fournier as a consolation prize, they have now reportedly turned their attention to Andre Drummond, who is expected to be bought out by the Cavs, although Drummond has drawn interest from several teams around the league.