Derrick White

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.

Atlantic Notes: Grimes, Noel, Anunoby, White

Knicks rookie guard Quentin Grimes practiced on Thursday and could play against Washington on Friday, Marc Berman of the New York Post tweets. Coach Tom Thibodeau said Grimes is “champing at the bit” to suit up after not playing since mid-February due to a subluxation of his right patella.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • It’s unlikely Knicks center Nerlens Noel will play again this season, according to Berman. He’s currently sidelined by plantar fasciitis in his left foot, part of a lost season for Noel. The big man, who re-signed with the team on a three-year, $27.7MM contract last summer, has only appeared in 25 games this season due to a variety of ailments and a bout with COVID-19.
  • Raptors forward OG Anunoby‘s fractured finger is “getting better every day”, according to coach Nick Nurse, but it’s still not fully healed. Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Anunoby, who has been out since February 16, was limited in practice on Wednesday and won’t play on Friday.
  • Derrick White admitted to Sports Illustrated’s Michael Pina that he’s still adjusting to his new team after being traded from San Antonio to the Celtics. White still hasn’t been able to shake a season-long 3-point shooting slump. “I got off to a horrible start this season,” White said. “I’m not super worried about it, just knowing that I’m going to get good looks because there’s going to be a lot of attention on other guys. I’ve just got to step up and knock it down.”

Celtics Notes: Stauskas, Tatum, White, Nesmith

The Celtics were among several teams that expressed interest in Nik Stauskas, coach Ime Udoka told reporters before today’s game (Twitter link from Tim Bontemps of ESPN). Stauskas signed a two-year contract with Boston on Friday after scoring a combined 100 points in his last two G League games. Udoka said the C’s reached out to Stauskas because they need more shooting.

Stauskas has a chance to see playing time as a floor spacer for the rest of the season, adds Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Many fans were hoping Isaiah Thomas could be brought back to fill the roster opening, but Thomas has signed with the Hornets and Himmelsbach doesn’t think he would have been a good fit because of his defensive liabilities. He suggests that signing Thomas would have been a distraction and could have ultimately harmed his reputation in Boston.

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • When Nets forward Kevin Durant became the all-time leading scorer for Team USA at the Summer Olympics, he speculated that Jayson Tatum may someday break that record, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston recalls in a preview of today’s matchup between the two stars. Forsberg notes that Durant made a strong impression on Tatum during their time as international teammates. “It means a lot [to hear Durant’s praise]. I mean he’s definitely somebody I looked up to growing up,” Tatum said. “Getting to have that matchup with him during the playoffs and then being his teammate and having conversation with him overseas, is something I will always remember.”
  • The Spurs‘ decision to trade Derrick White last month took him completely by surprise, per Souichi Terada of MassLive. White has turned out to be a perfect fit for the defensive-minded Celtics, but he expected to spend more time in San Antonio. “He was sad, it’s hard to say goodbye to some of those guys you’ve had good relationships with,” said Alex Welsh, White’s friend and former college teammate. “But then he was pumped. We got him all fired up. It was a great day for him in Boston to be able to play that next day. But it was a total shock.”
  • Jaylen Brown has been cleared to play today after missing time with a sprained right ankle, but Aaron Nesmith‘s ankle sprain will keep him out for a while, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

Southwest Notes: White, Hernangomez, McCollum, Spurs

Spurs guard Derrick White was shocked by the team’s decision to trade him to the Celtics this week, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News writes. By trading White, San Antonio acquired Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, a 2022 first-round pick (top-four protected), and the right to swap first-round picks with Boston in 2028 (top-one protected).

“The whole coaching staff, training staff, front office – I had a lot of love for everybody, all my teammates and everything,” he said. “So, I can’t really put into words how much I love all of them. It was hard for me, but I knew once I got here, it’s a new chapter and I am ready to get after it.”

White will add backcourt depth to a Celtics team that also traded Dennis Schröder on Thursday. He made his debut on Friday against Denver, recording 15 points and six rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans center Willy Hernangomez has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez (Twitter link). Hernangomez is expected to be available for the team’s game against San Antonio on Saturday. He originally entered protocols on February 3.
  • The Pelicans and Trail Blazers didn’t require any physicals in the trade that featured star guard CJ McCollum, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report tweets. ESPN’s Bobby Marks said on The Lowe Post that New Orleans waived McCollum’s physical (hat tip RealGM), so it’s still unclear if physicals were waived for all of the players involved in the deal. As Marks notes, it’s unusual for a team to waive a physical when the player has significant money left on his contract. McCollum will make $30.9MM this season, $33.3MM in 2022/23 and $35.8MM in 2023/24. He missed time due to a collapsed lung back in December.
  • The Spurs are entering a new phase of its rebuild, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News writes. In addition to trading White, the team also made some other moves on Thursday, including sending veteran forward Thaddeus Young to Toronto. San Antonio currently ranks 12th in the Western Conference at 21-35.

Hawks Rumors: Simmons, McCollum, White, Collins, Bogdanovic, Gallinari

Although the Hawks didn’t make more trades prior to Thursday’s deadline, that doesn’t mean they weren’t active in discussions to try and upgrade the roster, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. The Hawks believed trading Cam Reddish to the Knicks last month would help clear the rotational logjam at wing and give clarity to the roster, Kirschner writes.

Atlanta has gone 9-5 since Reddish was dealt. After starting the season a disappointing 17-23, the Hawks currently sit with a 26-28 record, 10th in the East, one game ahead of the Wizards for the final Play-In spot.

The Hawks were in discussions about deals for Ben Simmons, CJ McCollum, and Derrick White, but all fell through for various reasons, sources tell Kirschner. Atlanta called Portland about McCollum before he was traded to New Orleans, but Portland wanted multiple rotation players and draft picks, which tabled the discussion.

For Simmons, the Hawks offered John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and picks. However, the deal wasn’t seriously considered by the Sixers, as they were set on acquiring a second star. Once James Harden became available, that’s all Philly was focused on.

Some members of Atlanta’s organization were skeptical of Simmons’ potential fit with center Clint Capela, another non-shooter, per Kirschner’s sources. Others in favor of the deal thought that adding an elite defender would help mask Trae Young‘s deficiencies on that end, and that shooting was an overall strength of the roster, which would’ve helped Simmons.

The Hawks offered Bogdanovic for White, but the Spurs wanted a first-round pick as well, which Atlanta declined because it wasn’t clear that White would be an upgrade over Bogdanovic. There were mixed feelings about the deal inside the organization.

Here are some more interesting notes from Kirschner:

  • Danilo Gallinari was discussed with Toronto and other teams, but the talks didn’t go far, says Kirschner. It’s expected that Atlanta will field calls about him in the offseason or possibly even consider waiving and stretching him, as his contract for next season is only partially guaranteed at $5MM ($21.45MM total). Moving off that money would help Atlanta stay out of the luxury tax, which ownership is only willing to pay if it believes the club is a true contender.
  • The Hawks remain high on De’Andre Hunter and believe a healthy offseason will be crucial to his progress. They’re also happy with Onyeka Okongwu‘s progress as a sophomore, and Kirschner thinks that eventually the team will have to decide whether to keep Okongwu or Capela long-term.
  • Collins’ camp denies that he ever asked for a trade, despite reports that he was unhappy. Many teams around the league are interested in his services, which is evident based on his name perpetually popping up in rumors.
  • Kirschner believes former Hawk DeAndre’ Bembry would be a good fit for Atlanta’s open roster spot after he was waived by the Nets as part of the Simmons trade. Gary Harris could also be a nice addition, if the Magic opt to buy him out, Kirschner opines.

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 (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.

Celtics Trade Richardson, Langford, First-Round Pick To Spurs For Derrick White

10:11pm: The trade is now official, according to a press release from the Celtics. White heads to Boston, while the Spurs acquire Richardson, Langford, the Celtics’ 2022 first-round pick (top-four protected), and the conditional right to swap first-round picks with Boston in 2028.

12:40pm: The Celtics are trading Josh Richardson to the Spurs in a deal for Derrick White, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) that the Celtics are including a first-round pick in the trade. That pick will be Boston’s top-four protected 2022 first-rounder, a source tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link).

Himmelsbach tweets that Romeo Langford will also be headed to San Antonio. In addition, the Spurs will have the ability swap 2028 first-round picks with Boston, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link).

White, now in his fifth season, is averaging 14.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.9 BPG through 49 games (30.3 MPG). The 27-year-old is also one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders. White’s big weakness is an inconsistent outside shot, shooting just 31.4% from three-point range.

However, he’s a good finisher inside the arc, making 51.9% of his two-pointers and 86.9% of his free throws, both very respectable for a guard. He’s also a heady passer and driver on top of being a premier defender. White’s addition further bolster’s Boston’s third-ranked defense, and the team will become an absolute menace on that end of the court.

White makes $15.2MM this season and is under contract through 2024/25, making him a potentially long-term addition as president Brad Stevens builds the roster around stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Boston currently sits at 30-25 after winning six straight, No. 7 in the East.

As Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets, the Celtics plan to absorb White’s contract into their Evan Fournier traded player exception, which is worth $17.1MM. Doing so will create a new TPE worth $11.2MM for Richardson. Smith notes that could change, pending other moves, but that’s the plan for now. John Hollinger of The Athletic first reported that creating a new TPE for Richardson was a possibility (via Twitter).

San Antonio obtains a stunning array of assets for White. I value him highly and think the Celtics have improved significantly in the short-term, but they gave up an awful lot to get him. The first-round pick this season is almost certain to convey, and depending on how the rest of this season plays out, there’s even a chance it could be a late lottery pick, although Boston has played outstanding basketball since the start of January. The 2028 pick swap could also be very valuable, but that’s far down the line and foolish to speculate about at this juncture.

Richardson, 28, was in his first season with Boston after being acquired via trade in the offseason. The 40th overall pick of the 2015 draft by Miami, Richardson had been a valuable two-way contributor for the Heat before being traded multiple times the past few years, spending the 2019/20 season with the Sixers and last season with the Mavs. He’d been a bit disappointing for both of those clubs, but is performing well this season, averaging 9.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 1.5 APG on .443/.397/.859 shooting in a reserve role (44 games, 24.7 MPG).

San Antonio also gets a buy-low candidate in Langford, the 14th overall pick of the 2019 draft. Still just 22, Langford was a highly touted prospect who struggled to break Boston’s rotation. Now in his third season, he’s averaging 4.7 PPG and 2.4 RPG through 44 games (16.5 MPG). As a third-year former first-round pick, Langford is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer, although it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Spurs take a wait-and-see approach, as they’d still hold his rights as a restricted free agent in the summer of 2023.

Atlantic Notes: White, Theis, Durant, Claxton, Knicks

The Celtics’ flurry of action prior to the trade deadline has left them with a handful of open roster spots. They’ll fill them by signing free agents to 10-day deals in the short term, then explore the buyout market as players become available, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reports.

The trades that they made were done to improve the second unit, Himmelsbach adds. They view Derrick White as an upgrade in a sixth-man role, while Daniel Theis has already shown during his previous stint with the Celtics that he can mesh with this group. That deal with Houston for Theis came together at the last minute, Himmelsbach tweets.

The trades will also open up playing time for Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • How does Kevin Durant feel about the James Harden trade? In a TNT interview (hat tip to the Washington Post’s Ben Golliver), the Nets superstar said, “I’m excited for our team and looking forward to finishing the season out with this new group … The playoffs are right around the corner and we’ve got to fast track and get used to each other. I think everybody got what they wanted.”
  • The Nets explored trades involving Nic Claxton, Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News tweets. Andre Drummond was added in the Harden deal and LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to return in the near future from an ankle sprain. Those developments will presumably eat into Claxton’s playing time.
  • The Knicks, who didn’t pull off a trade on Thursday, still want to compete for a play-in spot, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. They still believe they made an upgrade in adding Cam Reddish last month, even though coach Tom Thibodeau has played the young wing sparingly, and they’re expected to get Derrick Rose back in action from ankle surgery later this month.