Blazers Acquire Kanter From Celtics (www.basketball-reference.com)

The Trail Blazers are reuniting with veteran center

, reaching a deal to acquire him from the Celtics, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

As Wojnarowski explains, the deal will be folded into the draft-night agreement between the Celtics and Grizzlies that saw Memphis land the No. 30 pick and select TCU’s Desmond Bane. The Grizzlies will receive Mario Hezonja from Portland in the swap, while the Celtics will get future draft considerations from Memphis.

Kanter, 28, enjoyed a brief, productive stint in Portland to finish the 2018-19 season, averaging 11.4 PPG and 9.7 RPG in 16 playoff games that year as the team made it to the Western Conference Finals. The two sides were unable to come to an agreement in free agency a year ago, resulting in Kanter signing with the Celtics. A year later, he’s back with the Blazers.

The move will give the Blazers a veteran backup for starting center Jusuf Nurkic and is probably a strong signal that free agent big man Hassan Whiteside isn’t coming back.

The Celtics, meanwhile, having already traded away
Vincent Poirier this week, have created a little extra cap and roster flexibility in advance of free agency, though they’ll need to add a frontcourt player or two to make up for losing a pair of centers.

Hezonja and Kanter both exercised player options for 2020-21 earlier this week, so they’re on expiring contracts. Hezonja will earn $1.98M, while Kanter will make just over $5M. The Grizzlies will take on Hezonja using one of their trade exceptions, and Portland will do the same for Kanter.



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