Report: Celtics trading Avery Bradley to Pistons for Marcus Morris

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The Celtics’ twisting-and-turning pursuit of max space for Gordon Hayward is over.

Trade talks that included Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart will end with Avery Bradley going to the Pistons.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

The Celtics downgrade in the short-term in the trade, but clearing the way for Hayward more than makes up for it.

Bradley is an elite perimeter defender with more than enough offensive skills. He’ll provide an immediate upgrade at shooting guard in Detroit – even over Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who remains a restricted free agent.

The Pistons hard-capped themselves by signing combo guard Langston Galloway, drafted shooting guard Luke Kennard and now traded for Bradley (who also reduces Detroit’s room under the hard cap). It sure seems Caldwell-Pope’s days in Detroit are numbered.

Bradley’s $8,808,989 salary this season is far less than Caldwell-Pope could get, and that matters for the Pistons, who are up against the luxury tax. But Bradley is on an expiring contract and due for a massive raise next season.

There’s a ton of risk in jettisoning Caldwell-Pope, who’s just 24, for a 26-year-old Bradley who can leave in a year. Either the Pistons lose Bradley to unrestricted free agency or give him a huge contract that becomes problematic with all their other salary commitments.

But that’s next year’s problem. For now, Detroit is better and less likely to pay the luxury tax this season.

The Celtics are also better with Morris and Hayward, who factored into this deal.

Morris is another combo forward on a team with Hayward, Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. But Morris is most equipped to play power forward, a position of need in Boston.

The Celtics are weaker on the perimeter, though Marcus Smart can handle some of Bradley’s defensive responsibilities. Maybe Terry Rozier is ready for a bigger role.

Boston avoids dealing with Bradley’s free agency. Al Horford and Hayward are already maxed out on multi-year deals, and Isaiah Thomas — maybe even up to the max himself — and Smart are headed for big raises next season. Bird Rights would have allowed the Celtics to keep everyone, but actually paying everyone might have been cost prohibitive to ownership.

Morris, due $10,375,000 over the next two years, is a bargain. Even if he’s not as good as Bradley, Morris allows Boston to sign Hayward and have an easier time affording Thomas next summer.