Daniel Theis

Pacers To Trade Malcolm Brogdon To Celtics

4:33pm: The 2023 first-round pick the Pacers are acquiring in the trade will be top-12 protected, tweets Brian Robb of MassLive. If it doesn’t convey, Indiana will instead receive a second-rounder.

12:39pm: The Pacers have agreed to trade veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon to the Celtics, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The deal will send center Daniel Theis, wing Aaron Nesmith, and a 2023 first-round pick to Indiana, Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter). Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, and Juwan Morgan are also headed to the Pacers in the swap, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter).

The Celtics wanted to acquire a “true play-making guard,” Wojnarowski explains (via Twitter), and were able to do so without including any of their core players in the package. Brogdon has battled injuries frequently over the course of his six-year career, but has been effective on both ends of the court when healthy.

In 2021/22, the 29-year-old averaged 19.1 PPG, 5.9 APG, and 5.1 RPG in 36 games (33.5 MPG) for the Pacers. Brogdon’s three-point percentage dipped to 31.2% last season, but he’s still a 37.6% career shooter from beyond the arc.

Although Brogdon’s name has come up frequently in trade rumors this offseason, he was primarily linked to the Wizards and Knicks in the weeks leading up to the draft. Washington addressed its point guard hole by agreeing to acquire Monte Morris and sign Delon Wright, while New York landed Jalen Brunson in free agency. That opened the door for another Eastern Conference club to make a deal with the Pacers.

Brogdon will earn $67.6MM over the next three seasons, including $22.6MM in 2022/23. In order to match his salary and make the trade legal, the Celtics will have to include five players in their package — the priciest of those players, Theis, is making $8.69MM next season, while Nesmith will earn $3.8MM. Stauskas, Fitts, and Morgan were on non-guaranteed minimum-salary contracts, which will become guaranteed for matching purposes, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN.

The Celtics, who also reportedly agreed to sign Danilo Gallinari, now have about $167.5MM committed to 11 players, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link), so team ownership doesn’t appear worried about paying a tax bill in 2022/23. Depending on how deep into the tax Boston is willing to go, the club could also make use of its $17MM trade exception, which won’t be utilized in this deal.

The Pacers, meanwhile, had interest in Grant Williams, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), but were ultimately willing to accept for a Celtics’ 2023 first-round pick that could land pretty late in the 20s.

Indiana may also see value in Theis and Nesmith, but the deal is more about the first-rounder and the cap flexibility moving off Brogdon will create. In addition to clearing some long-term money, the Pacers now have about $31MM in projected cap room this summer, tweets Marks.

The two teams will have to wait until July 9 to officially complete the trade, Marks notes (via Twitter), since Morgan can’t be dealt until then.

Celtics Notes: Tatum, R. Williams, Smart, Theis

It takes more than one bad shooting night to shake Jayson Tatum‘s confidence, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Meeting with the media following today’s practice, the Celtics star said he won’t change anything about his approach after shooting just 3-of-17 in Game 1.

“Once you’ve done something before, you know how to respond,” Tatum said. “I’ve had some bad shooting nights in the NBA. So it’s like, ‘I’ve been here before.’ I know what to do next game. I think a lot of it is mental. You don’t let it creep into your mind. I can’t do nothing about what happened last game. I missed those shots and it is what it is. It’s all about how to prepare and get ready for the next one.”

Even though Tatum was misfiring, Boston still put 120 points on the board and he was able to contribute 13 assists. That may have worked on Thursday night, but Tatum understands that the Celtics will need consistent scoring from him to win the series.

“Obviously, I know I’ve got to play better,” he said. “I can’t shoot like that every game and hopefully we win. I expect to play better shooting-wise, but just impacting the game in different ways to do my part and let’s get a win. I will continue to do that. Just read the game, read each play. That’s how I kind of approach next game.”

There’s more 0n the Celtics:

  • Robert Williams is being listed as questionable for Sunday night’s Game 2 with soreness in his left knee, tweets Substack contributor Marc Stein. Williams, who has been hampered by injuries throughout the playoffs, started at center and played more than 24 minutes in Game 1 after being deemed questionable.
  • The Celtics’ relentlessness helped them overcome a 12-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter of the series opener, observes Souichi Terada of MassLive. Marcus Smart describes himself as a “lion out on the prowl hunting” in his approach to matching up with the Warriors. “Playing against a team that’s been here and knows what it takes, and they’re the hunted,” Smart said. “We’re the hunters right now. We’re trying to get to their level and get to where they’re at. So for me, I’m just out, I’m stealth, I’m waiting for my time to strike and my opportunity.”
  • Daniel Theis credits the Celtics’ midseason turnaround to having so many players who are comfortable with their contract situations, per Brian Robb of MassLive. After Theis and Derrick White were acquired at the trade deadline, Boston’s top 10 rotation players all had multiyear deals. “Everybody now, almost everybody on his team got a long-term contract and like is secured in a way that they can just focus on winning,” Theis said, “like, it’s not like, ‘Oh, I’m in my contract year, I got to put the numbers up.'”

Celtics Notes: R. Williams, Irving, Tatum, Smart

The schedule for the Celtics‘ first-round matchup with the Nets increases the chances that injured center Robert Williams will be available before the series is over, writes Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston.

The series will open Sunday, with two off days following Game 1 and Game 2. Hartwell notes that Williams was given a four- to six-week prognosis when he underwent surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee on March 30. The reports on Williams’ progress have all been positive, Hartwell adds, and the four-week mark will be April 27, which is the night of Game 5.

Coach Ime Udoka gave another encouraging update on Williams after today’s practice, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. “Doing a little bit more every day. He’s looking good,” Udoka said. “We’re happy with the progress. He’s out on the court. Doing some shooting drills, some touch work. We’re still preparing for a series without him.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Nets guard Bruce Brown made headlines with a statement about the prospect of attacking the Celtics without Williams in the middle, but Udoka has confidence in Al Horford and Daniel Theis to protect the basket, per Brian Robb of MassLive. “We still have two high-level defenders back there, big guys with Daniel and Al, and we have layers to our defense,” Udoka said. “… Obviously we played quite a few games without him now and have done good enough beating some good teams.” Boston went 4-3 after Williams got hurt, but Robb points out that several starters were rested in two of those losses.
  • Kyrie Irving has been a villain in Boston since he left the city as a free agent in 2019, but that animosity doesn’t extend to Celtics players, according to Souichi Terada of MassLive. Jayson Tatum said Irving was very helpful during his rookie season, adding that Irving has shared some regrets over what happened in Boston. “We’ve talked and there are some things that he probably told me he wished he would have done differently,” Tatum said. “But I think that’s a part of life. No one is perfect, you just got to move on from it as you get older.”
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston examines how Marcus Smart has thrived as a point guard after Udoka allowed him to play that role on a full-time basis for the first time in his career. Smart, who received a four-year extension during the offseason, has become an on-court leader and is in the mix for Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Atlantic Notes: B. Brown, Nets, Celtics, Rivers, Joerger

After Brooklyn defeated Cleveland on Tuesday to secure the No. 7 seed and lock in a first-round matchup against Boston, Nets guard Bruce Brown expressed confidence about how the team matches up against the Celtics.

“They don’t have Robert Williams, so they have less of a presence in the paint,” Brown said, per Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “We can attack Al Horford and (Daniel) Theis. Them not having Robert Williams is huge.”

Although Brown expressed a little enthusiasm about how the Nets could attack the Celtics’ defense, his comments weren’t especially spicy — it’s not as if he was guaranteeing a series win. Still, his star teammate Kevin Durant wasn’t thrilled about Brown giving any extra bulletin-board material to their first-round opponents.

“That’s caffeine pride talking, taking some before the game,” Durant said when he addressed reporters following Brown’s media session. “Them two dudes (Horford and Theis) can do the same stuff (as Williams). It ain’t going to be that easy, I’ll tell you that.”

Asked why Brown’s comments rubbed him the wrong way, Durant explained that the Nets “respect their opponents,” as Nick Friedell of ESPN relays.

“We don’t need to talk about what we’re going to do to them,” Durant said. “I just don’t like that, but that’s how Bruce is. He comes in and keeps the same energy throughout the whole season so — but we don’t need to say s–t like that. Let’s just go out there and hoop.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • In an in-depth Insider-only story, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN traces the evolution of the Nets from the young upstart team coached by Kenny Atkinson to the current veteran-heavy squad seeking a championship. Sources tell Arnovitz, whose feature includes several behind-the-scenes tidbits from over the years, that the disconnect between James Harden and the Nets began when the former MVP showed up to training camp out of shape, which irked Kevin Durant.
  • Multiple recent reports have identified Doc Rivers as a possible candidate for the Lakers‘ head coaching job, but the Sixers head coach dismissed those rumors on Tuesday and said he and his staff are happy with in Philadelphia. “I have a job,” Rivers said (Twitter link via Tom Moore of The Bucks County Courier Times). “We want to win here.”
  • Sixers assistant Dave Joerger was away from the team for over two months this season, leaving in November to undergo cancer treatments before returning to the bench on a full-time basis in February. Speaking to Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Joerger opened up on what he has gone through in the last year. “Where I’ve been, it runs the gamut,” he said. “There’s times you feel, ‘This is not going to stop me. There’s nothing that can stop me. I’ve got such a great support system,’ and then there’s times you just don’t know if you can go on anymore. Physically, mentally, it’s like, ‘This hurts.’ It’s given me a great appreciation for all the gifts and all the things that we have been given.”

Celtics Notes: Tatum, Theis, Horford, White

Celtics coach Ime Udoka wasn’t happy with his team’s level of composure during Wednesday’s loss to the Heat, writes Brian Robb of MassLive. Amid a playoff-level atmosphere and with first place in the East on the line, Udoka thought his team got too distracted by the officiating.

“We talked about it at halftime. We were complaining a little bit too much, being down one as poorly as we played early and not playing our best basketball,” Udoka said. “We got caught up in that early in the game as some calls late that didn’t go our way and we got caught up in that. We still have to transfer down to the other end and continue to guard, play through it. It’s a physical team that felt like a playoff atmosphere tonight as far as that. We could do a better job with our composure for sure.”

Marcus Smart was ejected after picking up two technical fouls late in the fourth quarter, but a bigger concern is Jayson Tatum, who was called for his 13th technical of the season in the first half. If he gets three more, Tatum will receive an automatic one-game suspension.

“I do not want to have to sit out a game,” he said. “The previous 12 techs, I’ve looked at all of them. I agree with probably 10 of them I deserved, but tonight, I don’t know. That’s the one I got to think about and watch. That was a tough one. I was trying to have a conversation. I was asking questions. It’s unfortunate that I got that tech, but just something that we got to move on from and continue to keep playing.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Wednesday marked the Celtics’ first game with a regular rotation since Robert Williamsmeniscus injury, per Souichi Terada of MassLive. Grant Williams moved into the starting lineup, but didn’t make an impact, so Daniel Theis played 17 minutes and scored 15 points while making all six of his shots from the field. “Daniel is capable,” Udoka said. “He’s not jumping like Rob, but he’s a lob threat. We know that. However, we got to deliver it. We missed some opportunities, had some turnovers trying to force some passes tonight but Daniel had a great game overall. You can see his growth, what he’s doing the past few games.”
  • After a report Wednesday questioning whether the Celtics are fully vaccinated so that all their players would be eligible for a potential playoff series with the Raptors, Al Horford indicated that it won’t be an issue for him, according to Matt Vautour of MassLive. Horford was held out of Monday’s game at Toronto for personal reasons. “We’re clear on that. I’ll be ready to play wherever,” Horford said.
  • Derrick White played his 70th game of the season Wednesday night, triggering a $500K bonus, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. White’s cap hit will be adjusted to $16,892,857 for next season, and Boston is now $1.75MM away from the luxury tax for this season.

Celtics Notes: Smart, Theis, Hauser, Open Roster Spots

The Celtics blew out the rival 76ers on Tuesday by a score of 135-87 and now have the best net rating (+5.5) of any team in the Eastern Conference. Currently the No. 6 seed in the East, Boston is just 3.5 games back of the first-place Heat and Bulls.

However, Tuesday’s resounding win was marred slightly by the departure of Marcus Smart, who didn’t return to the game after spraining his right ankle in the second quarter, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

The Celtics are assessing the severity of the injury today, but head coach Ime Udoka said on Tuesday night that Smart “rolled his ankle pretty bad,” so it seems unlikely we’ll see him back on the court on Wednesday in the team’s last game before the All-Star break.

“We’ll check him out tonight, obviously tomorrow, see how he feels,” Udoka said after the win, per Bontemps. “Didn’t look very good walking out, but we’ll see.”

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Speaking to reporters after being traded back to the Celtics following a brief stint with the Rockets, center Daniel Theis said it feels good to be back in a familiar spot. “I wouldn’t say (I was) shocked,” Theis said (Twitter link via Jared Weiss of The Athletic). “I was kind of relieved, happy. Houston just didn’t work out for me as I planned it. If I could’ve been traded, I wanted it to be here.”
  • Sam Hauser‘s new contract with the Celtics is a minimum-salary deal that covers next season as well as the rest of 2021/22, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Boston has a team option for the 2022/23 season and Hauser would be assured of a $300K partial guarantee if that option is exercised, Smith adds.
  • The Celtics still have three open spots on their 15-man roster after promoting Hauser and signing Luke Kornet. However, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston doesn’t think the club should be in a rush to fill them until confirming whether or not Jaylen Brown will be named an All-Star replacement, since Brown’s All-Star bonus would move team salary much closer to the luxury tax line. Even after that, Forsberg isn’t convinced Boston needs to scour the buyout market for more veterans, suggesting it might make more sense to call up a prospect or two from the G League. President of basketball operations Brad Stevens has acknowledged that’s a possibility.

Southwest Notes: Mavs, Rockets, Brooks, McCollum, Murray

The Mavericks project to go well into the luxury tax in 2022/23 if they re-sign point guard Jalen Brunson, but team owner Mark Cuban sounds prepared for that scenario.

“We’re going to be in luxury tax hell next year, but that’s OK; it frees up the year after that,” Cuban said after the trade deadline, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

The Mavericks have several contracts on their books that expire in 2023, including Dwight Powell‘s and Maxi Kleber‘s. Additionally, Spencer Dinwiddie and Reggie Bullock only have partial guarantees for 2023/24 on their respective deals.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Rockets general manager Rafael Stone explained after the trade deadline that the decision to move Daniel Theis was related in part to the emergence of rookie Alperen Sengun. “Positionally, it makes sense for us,” Stone said, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “It’s not a secret that Alperen has been really good, really early. It has been since his first practice a priority to play him. That made it challenging to play Daniel Theis the amount we wanted, he wanted, that he should be playing. He’s a really, really good established NBA player.” Stone added that the team is excited about acquiring Dennis Schröder and has liked him for “a long time,” suggesting a buyout probably isn’t in the cards for the veteran point guard.
  • A handful of teams have inquired on Armoni Brooks, who cleared waivers over the weekend after being waived by the Rockets, tweets Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko adds that the door remains open for Brooks to return to Houston. The team will have an open spot on its 15-man roster once Enes Freedom is officially waived.
  • CJ McCollum did plenty of research on the Pelicans before signing off on the trade sending him to New Orleans. According to Will Guillory of The Athletic, McCollum spoke to Chris Paul about Pelicans head coach Willie Green, talked to J.J. Redick about his experience with the franchise, and got intel about the roster from current Pelicans wing Garrett Temple. McCollum didn’t have a no-trade clause, but told reporters last week that Portland involved him in the trade process.
  • Spurs guard Dejounte Murray was initially shocked that the team traded away his backcourt partner, but by the time he spoke to reporters about the Derrick White trade, he had come to terms with it, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “You start to realize you’re a player and not the GM or the front office,” Murray said. “You realize, just be a player and focus on that.”

Celtics Notes: Theis, Schröder, Roster Openings, TPEs

New Celtics center Daniel Theis waived his 15% trade kicker as part of the trade that sent him from Houston back to Boston, reports Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Theis gave up $3MM+ as a result of that decision, since the bonus would’ve been worth 15% of the amount of guaranteed money left on his contract. At the time of the trade, the big man was still owed $20MM+ in guaranteed money over the next two-and-a-half seasons.

It’s unclear if Boston would’ve moved forward with the acquisition of Theis if he hadn’t been willing to waive his trade kicker. The Celtics will be able to fill out their 15-man roster while remaining slightly under the luxury tax, but those efforts would’ve been complicated if they’d had to account for a higher cap hit for Theis due to his trade bonus.

Here’s more on the C’s:

  • Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com hears that the Lakers were offering the Celtics “a couple of second-round picks and some minimum contracts” for Dennis Schröder before Boston sent him to Houston in a package for Theis. Los Angeles would’ve had to trade three minimum-salary players to match Schröder’s salary.
  • Brian Robb of MassLive.com evaluates the Celtics’ decision to trade for Theis rather than accepting the rumored Lakers offer, which he speculates might’ve included expendable veterans like DeAndre Jordan, Kent Bazemore, and Wayne Ellington. As Robb writes, president of basketball operations Brad Stevens was looking for help in both the present and future, making Theis a better fit than those Lakers vets. Stevens also valued roster flexibility, per Robb — completing a one-for-three trade instead of a three-for-one deal would’ve meant the Celtics came out of the deadline with just one open roster spot instead of five.
  • The Celtics have already filled two of their five roster openings, and Stevens talked after the deadline about using one or two more of those open spots on young players, with an eye toward the future, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston relays. “We’ve got to look at a couple of young prospects that we can hopefully develop and make part of our long-term future and can find a great niche and fit within our team,” Stevens said. “I think a great example of that is a place like Miami that’s done that really well. They’ve found guys that other people passed on or missed on and have created a team that has really, really good players making a lot of money, and really, really good players that are just starting out in their career, but have found the perfect fit.”
  • The Celtics decided not to use their $17MM+ Evan Fournier trade exception to absorb Derrick White‘s incoming salary last Thursday, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. If they’d gone that route, the Celtics could’ve created a new $11.6MM trade exception (using Josh Richardson‘s outgoing salary), which wouldn’t have expired until the 2023 trade deadline. Instead, the team opted to keep the bigger exception, which will expire during the 2022 offseason.

Celtics Notes: White, Theis, Roster Openings, Pick Swap

Speaking to reporters on Friday about the Celtics‘ deadline-day trade for Derrick White, president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said the team has thought for years that the longtime Spurs guard would fit with Boston’s best players (Twitter link via Keith Smith of Spotrac). Stevens referred to White as a strong defender who also “makes the right play on offense over and over” (Twitter link via Jared Weiss of The Athletic).

Confirming a previous report that the acquisition of Daniel Theis came together quickly right before the deadline, Stevens said the Celtics were happy to get two players who will be under contract for multiple years to come (Twitter link via Weiss). Both White and Theis are under team control through 2025.

“Neither move was a short-term deal,” Stevens said (Twitter link via Smith). “When trading away two really good perimeter players, we had to get perfect fits. We want to maintain the stretch we’re on, but this is about the long-term. We know these guys can be on the floor in a seven-game playoff series.”

The Celtics’ series of trades opened up five spots on their 15-man roster, so Stevens will remain busy after the deadline as he looks to fill those openings.

According to Weiss (Twitter link), Stevens expects to sign a couple players as soon as today, telling reporters that the front office is looking for “skilled” players, with an eye on outside shooting. He later said during an appearance on the Toucher and Rich radio show in Boston that his immediate focus is on frontcourt players (Twitter link via Weiss).

Here are a few more notes on the Celtics:

  • The 2028 first-round pick swap the Celtics gave the Spurs in the White deal will be top-one protected, sources tell Brian Robb of MassLive.com (Twitter link). In other words, if Boston gets the No. 1 overall pick in ’28, San Antonio won’t be able to swap first-rounders, but otherwise the Spurs will have that option.
  • Asked today about the decision to give up a 2028 pick swap in addition to a lightly-protected 2022 first-round pick for White, Stevens acknowledged that risk, but expressed a belief it was worth it. That can go either way, right? That’s the one you lose sleep over for a couple of days,” Stevens said (Twitter link via Weiss). “But I think the analysis of that is we’ve got some really good players and we’ve got a person who fits in perfectly with them.”
  • In a story for The Athletic, Weiss and Jay King assessed the Celtics’ deadline moves. Weiss doesn’t think the deals made Boston a legit title contender in the East, but says the gap between the C’s and the East’s top teams has gotten smaller.
  • In his own breakdown of the Celtics’ trades, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston acknowledges there’s no guarantee the roster changes will make the team better right away, but notes that Stevens has proven he’s certainly not risk-averse in his new front office role.

Rockets Trade Daniel Theis To Celtics For Schröder, Two Others

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.

Sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) that Enes Freedom and Bruno Fernando are also be headed to Houston in the deal. Woj reports that the Rockets will waive Freedom (via Twitter).

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.