New Boston Celtics GM Brad Stevens Makes A Flurry Of Moves After Quiet Draft
It looks like the Boston Celtics weren’t joking when they said July would be a busy month, even if nothing really happened until there was less than 48 hours in it. If they were mostly quiet following the Kemba Walker trade they became real loud seemingly seconds after the end of the 2021 NBA Draft. By Friday night, we learned that they traded away big man Tristan Thompson and picked up Kris Dunn, Jason Richardson and Bruno Fernando. While it was a lot to keep up with, it also felt like the Celtics weren’t quite done yet.
Let’s start with Draft Day, which might have been the quietest in Boston basketball history. The Celtics had already sent their first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder when they traded Walker for Al Horford and Moses Brown, which left them with a solitary second-round pick. Deciding not to make a trade, Boston selected France’s Juhann Begarin with the 45th pick in what will essentially be a “draft and stash” situation where he will continue to hone his game overseas until the team decides to add him to their roster.
So far, so boring.
Friday, however, was anything but. Once the Celtics reunited with Horford, it was clear that Thompson’s time with the team was coming to an end. In an effort to clear out their crowded big man situation, they sent Thompson to the Sacramento Kings in a three-way deal where they received Dunn and Fernando from the Atlanta Hawks alongside a second-round draft pick. It’s tricky to say much about this move at the moment, mostly becuse there’s already speculation that they might be flipping Dunn.
Following that, Celtics looked to get something for the remainder of the mid level exception created in the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade before its August 1st expiration date. With it, they ended up making a deal with the Dallas Mavericks to pick up Richardson and his $11.6 salary. Earlier in the month newly-appointed GM Brad Stevens said he was looking to add players with more experience, as the lack of such players clearly affected the last season. The additon of the 28-year old Richardson seems to be a nod towards that particular need.
So, that’s the what of the matter, but that leaves the why. Do these trades make the team better? Unfortunately, right now it’s impossible to say because it feels like these are just the first steps of a much larger plan.
At this point, it’s honestly best to take a “wait and see” approach to yesterday’s transactions. As NBCSports’s Chris Forsberg notes, all of the players they have collected so far are on expiring contracts. This suggests the reasoning behind them might have to do more with next year’s free agency than the upcoming season. Maybe the only thing we can confidentally take away from yesterday’s news is that Stevens has wasted no time in starting to make this team his own.