Derrick White

Celtics Notes: Brogdon, Smart, Durant, White

New Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon is comfortable with the idea of playing a sixth man role for his new team as Marcus Smart retains the starting point guard job. As Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe writes, Brogdon is also confident that the two guards will complement one another well when they share the floor.

“I think we have different strengths,” Brogdon said. “He’s an All-Defensive player and Defensive Player of the Year, and he’s incredible in that facet, but I also think he contributes offensively. You’ve seen his game grow and seen him be able to knock down shots and create for his teammates.

“And we both can play on and off the ball. That’s the beauty of us. We’re smart, we have high IQs, and we’re unselfish, so I think it’s going to work well.”

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Although they were once viewed as a serious suitor for Kevin Durant, the Celtics never came “remotely close” to actually acquiring the former MVP, according to Himmelsbach, who heard from league sources that the Nets never pushed particularly hard to trade Durant.
  • Jared Weiss of The Athletic considers possible trade options the Celtics could explore with Danilo Gallinari expected to miss most or all of the 2022/23 season, suggesting that Derrick White could potentially become a trade chip if Brogdon is healthy and effective. However, Weiss notes that Gallinari was more of a luxury than a necessity, meaning the team won’t feel urgency to go out and acquire a replacement.
  • In his latest mailbag, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston discusses Sam Hauser‘s role, the battle for back-end roster spots, and expectations for Payton Pritchard, among other Celtics-related topics.

Celtics Emerge As Serious Kevin Durant Suitor

6:26am: The Celtics offered Brown, White, and a draft pick to the Nets in exchange for Durant, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that Brooklyn turned down that offer and countered by asking for Brown, Marcus Smart, multiple draft picks, and possibly one additional rotation player.

The Celtics aren’t currently inclined to include Smart along with multiple other picks or players, but they’re considering their next move in the negotiations, according to Charania, who suggests that Boston has emerged as a “serious” potential landing spot for Durant. No deal is imminent, but the C’s view Durant as a player who could be the missing piece as they pursue a title, Charania writes.

Charania also reports that the Suns “appear to be all but eliminated” from the Durant sweepstakes with Deandre Ayton back under contract and ineligible to be traded.


5:58am: The Celtics are among the teams engaged in discussions with the Nets about a possible Kevin Durant trade, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who hears that Boston has been in “regular contact” with Brooklyn.

It doesn’t appear the two sides have made any significant progress toward a deal, however, with Wojnarowski reporting that Boston isn’t any closer to acquiring Durant than a handful of his other suitors are. However, Woj says that the Celtics’ ability to include Jaylen Brown as a centerpiece in an offer makes the club “formidable in its pursuit.”

The Celtics view All-NBA forward Jayson Tatum as off-limits in any hypothetical Durant deal, per Wojnarowski. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, that leaves just seven contracts that Boston could trade without restrictions, led by Brown.

Wojnarowski suggests that a Celtics offer could theoretically include Brown and up to three first-round picks (2025, 2027, and 2029), as well as pick swaps in 2024 and 2026.

Because Brown is earning approximately $28.7MM in 2022/23 while Durant is making $44.1MM, the Celtics would have to include about $6.5MM in additional salary in order to meet the NBA’s salary-matching requirements.

Al Horford ($26.5MM), Marcus Smart ($17.2MM), Derrick White ($16.9MM), Robert Williams ($10.9MM), Grant Williams ($4.3MM), and Payton Pritchard ($2.2MM) are Boston’s other movable players, Marks notes. All are expected to be part of the team’s regular rotation in 2022/23.

While Durant hasn’t backed off his request to be traded out of Brooklyn, there’s a sense that the Nets also haven’t gained any real traction in any of their trade talks involving the former MVP, says Wojnarowski. The club continues to seek a return that includes “impactful” players, along with multiple unprotected first-round picks and swaps, sources tell ESPN.

The Raptors, Heat, and Suns are among the other teams believed to have interest in Durant, Wojnarowski writes. The 33-year-old has reportedly identified Miami and Phoenix of two of his preferred landing spots.

It’s unclear how Durant would feel about landing in Boston, but since he has four years remaining on his contract, a team trading for him wouldn’t have to worry about him leaving as a free agent in a year or two.

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

Jayson Tatum hasn’t forgotten the feeling of being passed over by the Lakers in the 2017 draft — or that the Celtics almost didn’t take him either, according to Ramona Shelburne and Elizabeth Merrill of ESPN. Tatum, who has become the biggest star among that year’s draft class, grew up as a Lakers fan and still offers subtle tributes to Kobe Bryant. L.A. owned the No. 2 pick, but was focused on Lonzo Ball, ending Tatum’s hopes of wearing purple and gold.

“The Lakers were my favorite team, and Kobe was my favorite player,” Tatum said. “So it was crazy that the Lakers had the second pick and I was so close to a dream come true. But it was just like they didn’t want anything to do with me at the time.”

Tatum had a strong pre-draft workout for Boston, which owned the top pick. Danny Ainge, who ran the Celtics at the time, had planned to take Markelle Fultz, but Fultz shot poorly at his workout and didn’t seem fully healthy, so Ainge traded down and grabbed Tatum at No. 3.

“After my workout, I remember one of the [Boston] scouts came up to me and said, ‘That was a great workout. I’m excited for you. But we got the No. 1 pick, so we’re not going to pick you,'” Tatum recalled. “He still works for the Celtics now, so I f— with him all the time.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Robert Williams has earned a new level of respect by playing in pain throughout the postseason, per Jay King of The Athletic. Williams has come a long way since college, when there were questions surrounding his work ethic and maturity level. “Rob has made huge jumps,” teammate Jaylen Brown said. “Not just in his game, but just the mental game. Just being able to be consistent, being able to be solid, being able to be available. And a lot of that comes from confidence. A lot of that comes from self belief, inner belief.” Williams was listed as questionable for tonight’s Game 3, but he’ll be in the starting lineup, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.
  • Marcus Smart tells Steve Bulpett of Heavy that the Celtics are stronger because of the trials they experienced during their 18-21 start. “We definitely made it hard on ourselves,” Smart said. “But, you know, we always hear the saying: if you want something great, it’s never gonna be easy to achieve it. So, you know, we take that full head-on as a team, we accept it and we ride with it.”
  • After being traded to Boston by the Spurs, Derrick White found a lot of similarities in the system run by Ime Udoka, who was a former assistant in San Antonio, but he said the Celtics place more emphasis on physicality, Grant Afseth writes for Sports Illustrated“In San Antonio, we had a lot of emphasis on not fouling,” White said. “To keep them [opponents] off the line. Obviously, they don’t want dumb fouls here, but I’m just trying to be more physical. Just little things like that.”

Atlantic Notes: Boeheim Brothers, Knicks, Horford, White, Kokoskov

The Knicks recently worked out a pair of brothers — Buddy Boeheim and Jimmy Boeheim — ahead of the NBA draft, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Boeheim brothers are the sons of Jim Boeheim, who’s served as head coach at Syracuse since 1976.

“They’re getting an opportunity,” Boeheim said of his sons. “They worked hard all their life. They’ll do workouts and see where they stand in the whole picture. It’s fun for them.

“We’ll see where they can go — anywhere from the NBA to G-League to overseas. Nobody knows. I told them: Just keep your head down, work hard, go through workouts and get on a summer league team and see what happens there.’’

Both Boeheims played for their father at Syracuse last season. Buddy averaged 19.2 points per game on 41% shooting last season, while Jimmy averaged 13.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest. The Knicks own the No. 11 and No. 42 picks in the draft this year.

Here are some other notes from around the Atlantic:

  • Jayson Tatum praised veteran big man Al Horford for his leadership with the Celtics this season, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets. Horford is in his 15th NBA campaign. “Al is the best teammate ever, just a consummate professional,” Tatum said. Horford also made the NBA Finals for the first time in his career this year.
  • Celtics guard Derrick White briefly responded to Draymond Green‘s comments following Game 1, as relayed by Brian Robb of Masslive.com. Green pointed out that White, Marcus Smart and Horford combined to shoot 15-of-23 from deep in the game and seemed confident it wouldn’t happen again. “I mean, we knew what their game plan was going in, so it’s just up to us to make shots,” White said. “I mean, it is what it is. He said what he said. Just going into Game 2, just have the right mindset and whatever it takes to help us win games.” Green turned out to be right in Game 2, as White, Smart and Horford combined to shoot just 2-of-7 from deep.
  • Brian Lewis of the New York Post explores what Igor Kokoskov could bring to the Nets. Brooklyn is expected to hire Kokoskov, who holds a relationship with Steve Nash and recently coached with Dallas, as an assistant coach.

Atlantic Notes: White, Smart, Sixers, Anunoby, Raptors

Like longtime Celtics Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart, former Spurs guard Derrick White was a member of the USA Basketball team that played in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. As Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes, the training camp for that World Cup represented the first time that Smart met White, who is now playing a key role for Boston as the team seeks a championship.

“We knew that Derrick understood the game, the way he plays,” Smart said on Thursday, revisiting their first meeting. “Watching him play before we got to USA reminded myself a little bit of me. So, just instantly off the bat, I loved the way he played.”

While Team USA had a disappointing run at the 2019 World Cup, finishing in seventh place, White and Smart are having more success as Celtics teammates. Boston is now just three wins away from a title after White, acquired in a deadline deal in February, played a key role in Thursday’s Game 1 win with 21 points and five three-pointers.

“Every day he’s done something new to make you go, ‘That’s why he’s here,'” Smart said of his fellow guard.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Smart was no longer listed on the Celtics‘ injury report for Game 1 on Thursday, but that doesn’t mean his right ankle sprain has fully healed. The ankle is a pretty serious injury,” Smart said on Wednesday when asked about it (Twitter link via Jared Weiss of The Athletic). “I’m thankful to let alone play and still be walking. It hurt, but my mama always told me if you’re gonna play, you can’t make no excuses.”
  • Now that they know they’ll have the No. 23 pick in this year’s draft rather than sending it to Brooklyn, the Sixers can focus on what to do with that selection. Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice identifies five draft prospects who would make sense as potential targets if Philadelphia hangs onto the pick.
  • In a Twitter thread, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca explains why he believes the Raptors are extremely unlikely to trade OG Anunoby this summer, despite rumors that he could be available.
  • Gabe Brown (Michigan State), Marcus Bingham (Michigan State), Trent Frazier (Illinois), and JD Notae (Arkansas) are among the prospects who worked out for the Raptors earlier this week, according to reports from Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com and Brandon Simberg of Busting Brackets (Twitter links).

Atlantic Notes: Smart, Williams, Diop, Nets, White

Celtics starters Marcus Smart and Robert Williams are listed as questionable for Game 6 on Friday, the team tweets. It’s the same injury designation they had for Game 5.

Smart wound up playing 24 minutes on Wednesday despite his right ankle sprain and Williams made it through 27 minutes on his sore left knee.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • DeSagana Diop is the new head coach of the G League’s Westchester Knicks, Marc Stein tweets. Diop was represented by Knicks president Leon Rose when Rose was a player agent. Diop has assistant coaching experience with the Jazz and, most recently, the Rockets.
  • It has been reported that the Nets will likely defer the first-rounder owed by the Sixers from this year to next summer. However, that doesn’t mean the Nets will hold onto it and draft a rookie next summer, according to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney. They might instead use it to facilitate an in-season trade next season to address injuries or roster shortcomings.
  • The deadline deal that sent Derrick White from San Antonio to Boston has proven to be crucial to the Celtics in their postseason run, Brian Windhorst of ESPN notes. They have registered blowout wins in two of the three games Smart has missed during the playoffs and having White at their disposal was a key to those successes. The Spurs acquired Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, the Celtics’ 2022 first-round pick, and the conditional right to swap first-round picks with Boston in 2028 in exchange for White.

Celtics Notes: Smart, G. Williams, Strus, White

After missing Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals due to a right mid-foot sprain, Celtics guard Marcus Smart was determined to get back on the court for Game 2 on Thursday, he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Smart was especially motivated to return after having called out his teammates for letting a lead slip away in an ugly third quarter on Tuesday.

“I actually got into the guys. I really chewed into them,” Smart said. “They felt it and I felt bad for them because it’s one thing to be out there with your guys and then another thing to not be playing and hearing me come at them the way I did. So for me, when I inserted myself back in for Game 2, I wanted to come back and show the guys what I meant by my words and with my actions. I’m showing them I got y’all backs.”

Smart showed no signs of rust in his return on Thursday, recording a near triple-double with 24 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds, and three steals. As Haynes notes, Smart was the first Celtic to put up at least 20 points, 10 assists, and three steals in a playoff game since Rajon Rondo did it 10 years ago.

“I did not see that stat, but I’ll take it,” Smart told Haynes. “That’s an awesome, awesome accomplishment. I’m just trying to do what I can to help my team win. These games are important.”

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • After playing a huge role in the Celtics’ Game 7 win over Milwaukee last round, forward Grant Williams was once again a difference-maker on Thursday, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Williams, who is extension-eligible this offseason, can space the floor offensively and is a versatile defender. He had 19 points and was a plus-37 in 32 minutes in Game 2. “He just (has come) a long way from his first year,” teammate Jayson Tatum said of Williams. “He’s worked on his game, and he’s developed into somebody that we believe and trust in to catch it at half court.”
  • Heat guard Max Strus, who has started every game for Miami since the start of the postseason, began his professional career by signing a two-way contract with the Celtics in 2019, but was waived before that season began. Celtics head coach Ime Udoka acknowledged on Thursday that Boston “might have missed out on that one,” tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Strus was also on Chicago’s roster before joining the Heat in November 2020.
  • Sam Hauser is the only Celtic listed on the injury report for Saturday’s Game 3, so the team should have its full rotation available for that pivotal contest, tweets Bontemps. That includes Derrick White, who missed Game 2 for family reasons.

Celtics’ Derrick White To Miss Game 2 For Personal Reasons

10:58am: Celtics head coach Ime Udoka confirmed that White is away from the team for the birth of his child, telling reporters that the veteran guard is expected to be available for Game 3 on Saturday (Twitter link via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press).


10:02am: The Celtics will likely be getting one point guard back in their lineup for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Heat on Thursday, with Marcus Smart (foot) listed as probable. However, the team’s other top point guard won’t be available.

Derrick White will miss Thursday’s contest for personal reasons, the Celtics announced today (via Twitter). The team didn’t offer any more information than that, but Keith Smith of Spotrac notes (via Twitter) that White and his wife had been expecting a child, so that could be the reason for his absence.

Acquired by the Spurs at the trade deadline, White was a key part of the Celtics’ rotation during their dominant second half of the season, averaging 11.0 PPG, 3.5 APG, and 3.4 RPG in 26 games (27.4 MPG).

White made four starts during the regular season and has made two more in the playoffs, including in Game 1 on Tuesday when Smart was out. He struggled in that contest vs. Miami’s defense, scoring just three points on 1-of-4 shooting and registering a plus-minus of -11 in Boston’s 11-point loss.

Assuming Smart plays, the Celtics will likely lean heavily on him and Payton Pritchard in the backcourt tonight.

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Celtics, D. White, Simmons

In Sunday’s Game 4 win over Miami, the Sixers got to see the version of James Harden they’ve been waiting for, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Harden looked like the perennial MVP candidate he was in Houston as he scored 31 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, and made six three-pointers, his most in a single game since being acquired from the Nets in February.

Harden took control from the start, taking 18 shots and 10 three-point attempts, which marked his second-highest totals in both categories since coming to Philadelphia. He also shot 10 free throws, the most he’s had in a game since the playoffs began. With two straight wins since Joel Embiid returned, the Sixers are feeling good as they head back to Miami in a tied series.

“We’re getting more confident as the series goes on,” Harden said. “Those first two games [were] a blur. But obviously, having Joel and having our full team, we kind of know what to expect. We know where to execute on both ends of the ball. It just makes the job a lot easier. Think about: We’re still a fairly new team. We’re damn near two months. So when we finally catch a rhythm and finally find something that works, Joel goes off for a couple games. So we’re finally settling into the series, and we’ve had some great things that have worked tonight and that we can capitalize off in Game 5.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics‘ turnaround can be traced to a January game at Washington, Bontemps observes in a separate story. Coming off a tough loss to the Trail Blazers, Boston took advantage of Jayson Tatum‘s 51-point night in a rout of the Wizards. From that point through the end of the regular season, the Celtics posted the NBA’s best record at 28-7 and led the league in both offensive and defensive rating. “After that game, we just had this mentality and mindset and this sense of urgency that we can feel that a change was starting,” Marcus Smart said. “Once that got rolling, and we got on the right track, it was just smooth sailing from there.”
  • Coach Ime Udoka believes the changes the Celtics made at the trade deadline were critical to the team’s success, Bontemps adds. They acquired Derrick White from the Spurs, filling the roles that previously belonged to Josh Richardson and Dennis Schroder. “If I could have picked the guy who would have been the perfect guy to come in and complement our group, it’s [White],” Udoka said. “He’s a better offensive player than J-Rich, and a much better defender than Dennis, so you kind of get those guys combined into one.”
  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post traces the significant events involving Nets forward Ben Simmons since he played his last game and suggests there’s increased optimism about next season in the wake of his back surgery.

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.