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Celtics news: Danny Ainge admits that salary cap drop forced Avery Bradley trade

Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge has had one busy offseason. He traded the No. 1 overall pick, signed Gordon Hayward in free agency, and traded for Kyrie Irving, to name just three of his most notable transactions. For most teams, even one of those moves would’ve been considered enough action for one summer.

However, Ainge was forced into making one move more than he anticipated when he traded Avery Bradley to the Detroit Pistons for Marcus Morris. Per Jared Weiss, Ainge admitted that the cap coming in at a much lower number than what was previously projected was the reason he traded Bradley away.

The reason for the cap coming in at around $4 million lower than anticipated was due to the decreased basketball-related income for the season. The fewer number playoff games played a factor in that dip in BRI as the league’s top draws, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, lost just one game between them en route to the Finals.

As a result of the lower cap, the Celtics didn’t have quite enough space to sign Hayward to a max deal in free agency. Ainge had a tough choice to make. He ultimately decided that since Bradley was about to become a free agent next summer and would want a big payday, it made the most sense for him to go.

The Celtics’ ceiling certainly would’ve been higher if they had had Bradley for at least one more year along with Hayward and Irving. Bradley’s widely considered one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, and also provides three-point shooting on the wing that the Celtics will miss now that they will be playing shaky shooters in Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart in place of Bradley.

But because of their cap situation, Ainge ultimately had to choose between Bradley or Gordon Hayward, and he made the right one in prioritizing the much better player in Hayward.