8:27pm: The trade is official, according to press releases from both the Celtics and Rockets. As expected, Houston has officially waived guards D.J. Augustin and Armoni Brooks in order to complete the deal.
2:03pm: The Rockets are sending Daniel Theis back to the Celtics, Kelly Iko of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets that it will be for a package including Dennis Schröder.
After sending Bol Bol and PJ Dozier to Orlando, agreeing to trade Josh Richardson and Romeo Langford to San Antonio in exchange for Derrick White, and now dealing three players for one, the Celtics have opened five roster spots today and figure to be aggressive on the buyout market.
Theis, 29, started his NBA career in Boston, appearing in parts of four season with the club prior to being traded to Chicago at last season’s deadline.
He signed a four-year, $35.6MM contract with Houston as a free agent last summer, with the 2024/25 season being a team option. It was a strange signing for a rebuilding Rockets team that had just used two first-round picks on young big men Alperen Sengun and Usman Garuba. Theis had fallen out of the team’s rotation as it prioritized youth, averaging 8.4 points and 5.0 rebounds through 26 games (22.5 minutes).
Theis will provide a major defensive upgrade over Freedom and should see some backup center minutes for his old team. Obviously, the Celtics have a high level of familiarity with the German big man, and he’s been teammates with the majority of the roster after just being dealt away last year.
For the Rockets, the move is mostly about clearing their books. Schröder is having another decent year, averaging 14.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.4 assists through 49 games (29.2 minutes), but he’s on an expiring $5.9MM contract, which was the main appeal. Freedom and Fernando are also in the final year of their respective deals.
Fernando can become a restricted free agent this summer if Houston tenders him a qualifying offer, but that seems unlikely given the limited contributions he’s provided this point in his career. Still, the Rockets get a look at 23-year-old big man to see if they want to keep him around beyond this season.
It will be interesting to see if a market develops for Schröder this summer after he failed to secure the large contract he was hoping for in 2021. I suspect he’ll still fall in the mid-level exception range, as not many teams will have cash to spend on free agents in 2022.