The Celtics bolstered their roster at the trade deadline Thursday by adding Magic sharpshooter Evan Fournier, but their sights had been set considerably higher while dealing with Orlando.
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 offer. 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 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.
Nevertheless, the Celtics might not be done tinkering with their roster after acquiring Fournier, Wizards forward Moe Wagner, and Bulls forward Luke Kornet. According to a league source, the Celtics intend to pursue Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, whose buyout was finalized Friday. They are not expected to inquire about Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who reportedly is likely to sign with the Heat or the Blazers after being bought out.
Drummond averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in 25 games before being shut down in mid-February as the Cavaliers looked for trades involving the big man. The Celtics will face significant competition in their pursuit of Drummond, however. Yahoo! Sports reported that the Knicks, Lakers, Clippers, and Hornets are among the teams interested in the former UConn star.
New York has salary-cap space, so it will be positioned to give Drummond a lucrative multiyear deal. The Celtics, meanwhile, would be restricted to offering the biannual exception, which is about $3.6 million. But Drummond could be intrigued by joining a talented roster that features two All-Stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and just added Fournier. There is also some new opportunity after Daniel Theis was sent to Chicago.