Josh Richardson

Celtics Heavily Involved In Trade Discussions

The Celtics have been extremely active in trade talks with the aim of improving the pieces around stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, longtime beat writer Steve Bulpett reports in a story.

President of basketball operations Brad Stevens is looking to at least improve the team’s salary cap sheet and free up more playing time for young players such as Payton Pritchard, Aaron Nesmith and Romeo Langford.

The Celtics already made one move this month to improve their salary cap situation and reduce their chances of paying the luxury tax, dealing Juancho Hernangomez and his $7MM salary to San Antonio in a three-team trade.

Boston has been exploring the trade value of Al Horford, who is making $27MM this season and has a partial guarantee of $14.5MM on his $26.5MM contract next season.

Though Bulpett didn’t specify which other players the Celtics are looking to deal, it stands to reason that Dennis Schröder (a free agent again this summer), Josh Richardson and Marcus Smart would have the types of contracts they’d like to move. Richardson’s contract runs through next season and Smart signed a four-year extension last summer.

Another interesting nugget in Bulpett’s report is that Celtics had targeted big man Alperen Sengun if they had kept their first round pick last year. They wound up dealing it to Oklahoma City, which eventually ended up drafting Sengun and trading him to the Rockets. Boston shed Kemba Walker‘s contract in the trade with the Thunder. Sengun is averaging 8.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 2.6 APG with Houston in 39 appearances.

Celtics Notes: Bol, Hernangomez, Richardson, Hayward

Bol Bol might not play for the Celtics this season, but the newly-acquired power forward could have a future with the team, writes Souichi Terada of MassLive. The three-team trade that sent Bol and PJ Dozier from Denver to Boston was finalized today just before coach Ime Udoka’s pre-game meeting with reporters, giving him a chance to discuss how the organization views Bol.

“He’s an intriguing young player,” Udoka said. “I’ve seen him quite a bit at Oregon before he got hurt there playing with Payton (Pritchard). Know about him, intriguing guy who can do a lot of things obviously and he’s a guy that’s a restricted free agent, so we can retain his rights and get a good look at him over the next few months.”

The Nuggets were seeking a taker for the 7’2″ Bol, who seemed headed to Detroit last week before the Pistons reneged on a trade due to medical reasons. Bol had surgery on his right foot Tuesday and is expected to miss eight-to-12 weeks weeks, so the best-case scenario would have him return during the final month of the regular season.

There’s more from Boston:

  • The Celtics parted with Juancho Hernangomez in the trade, mainly for financial reasons as the team tries to get below the luxury tax threshold. Although Hernangomez wasn’t able to earn a spot in the rotation after being acquired in an offseason deal, Udoka said he handled the situation professionally, Terada adds. “I love his approach, the work he continued to put in and him being professional in cheering on the guys,” Udoka said. “I think it’s a tough situation and one of the toughest as coaches is finding minutes for everybody and honestly, it was … nothing that he didn’t do.”
  • Brad Stevens will approach his first trade deadline as president of basketball operations with several team-friendly contracts that should be easy to move, notes Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. With the Celtics expected to be among the most active teams at the deadline, there may be some uneasiness in the locker room over the next three weeks, but Josh Richardson tells his younger teammates that it’s nothing to worry about. “I’ve been traded a few times, so you just kind of learn how to live with it at that point,” he said. “It might be scary for some guys who have never been through it, but for us veterans who have been moved we know it’s a business and just try to keep the other guys engaged on what’s important and that’s winning games.”
  • With tonight marking his first game in Boston since signing with the Hornets, Gordon Hayward talks to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated about his memories of the city and why he decided to move on.

Celtics Explore Trading Al Horford

The Celtics are exploring the idea of moving Al Horford, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, who says the team is in the market for another center at this year’s trade deadline.

Horford’s trade value will likely be limited. The 35-year-old has been Boston’s starting center this season and is averaging 10.8 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 3.6 APG in 36 games (29.0 MPG), but his .442 FG% is a career low and his 3PT% (.285) has dropped significantly. He’s also earning $27MM, a cap figure that won’t be palatable for some clubs.

As Weiss observes, Horford’s $26.5MM salary for 2022/23 is only partially guaranteed (for $14.5MM), which could appeal to teams looking to move a longer-term contract. Still, it’s hard to imagine Boston getting positive value for the veteran big man.

According to Weiss, the Celtics have been “surprisingly open” to discussing both Horford and Josh Richardson, both of whom were acquired during the 2021 offseason. Dennis Schröder, another offseason addition, has also been repeatedly mentioned as a trade candidate, and Weiss confirms that league sources consider the point guard to be available.

The Celtics are believed to be seeking another impact play-maker to complement Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, says Weiss. However, it may be a challenge to put together a package for such a player without relying heavily on draft assets. Due to their uneven development, former lottery picks like Romeo Langford and Aaron Nesmith don’t have as much trade value as they would have earlier in their careers.

At 23-22, the Celtics are currently the No. 10 seed in the East, hanging onto a play-in spot. Although they’ll likely approach the trade deadline as buyers, it remains to be seen whether the C’s are capable of making any noise in the playoffs. Weiss says multiple people in the locker room have suggested there’s a “lack of desperation” present, with attempts at vocal leadership from players like Brown, Marcus Smart, and Grant Williams sometimes being tuned out.

COVID Updates: Schroder, Richardson, Bullock, Konchar, Ilyasova

Here are the latest developments on players entering or exiting the league’s health and safety protocols:

  • The Celtics got some good news, as Dennis Schröder and Josh Richardson have exited the COVID-19 protocols, Jared Weiss tweets. Schroder last played on Wednesday, while Richardson has been sidelined since Dec. 18. Boston plays the Clippers tomorrow.
  • Mavericks swingman Reggie Bullock has cleared the protocols, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. The Mavs still have a handful of players in the protocols, including franchise player Luka Doncic. That group will miss Wednesday’s game against Sacramento.
  • Grizzlies guard John Konchar has entered the protocols, the team’s PR department tweets. Konchar contributed a combined 18 points and 23 rebounds in a back-to-back over the past two nights.
  • Forward Ersan Ilyasova, signed to a 10-day deal by the Bulls on Wednesday, has entered the protocols, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets.
  • Heat guard Max Strus entered the protocols shortly before the team’s game against Washington on Tuesday, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press tweets.

Josh Richardson, Cody Martin Enter Protocols

Celtics swingman Josh Richardson and Hornets swingman Cody Martin have entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the teams announced (Twitter links).

Richardson, 28, exited the league’s protocols just under a week ago. Boston now has seven players in protocols ahead of Monday’s game against Philadelphia, plus Jayson Tatum (left ankle sprain), Romeo Langford (neck pain) and Dennis Schroder (illness) on the injury report as questionable.

Martin, 26, will enter protocols for the first time this season. His brother, Caleb, is going through the same situation with the Heat, though it’s unclear if this is related to Cody’s addition.

Richardson has provided two-way production for Boston this season, averaging 10.7 points in 25.2 minutes per game this season. Martin has done much of the same for Charlotte, though the third-year player is shooting a scorching 51% from three-point range.

Richardson and Martin are part of a growing list of players who are in the NBA’s protocols. Over a dozen players were placed on Sunday, while five game postponements were announced.

COVID-19 Updates: Niang, I. Smith, J. Richardson

Sixers forward Georges Niang has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced today (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN). Niang has already been ruled out for Wednesday’s game and if he registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, he figures to miss several more. He’d have to sit out at least 10 days or return two consecutive negative coronavirus tests at least 24 hours apart before being cleared to exit the protocols.

Several teams have been affected this month by positive COVID-19 tests. Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York, and the Lakers are among the clubs that have had three or more players in the protocols at the same time. The Sixers aren’t at that point yet, but they’ll likely test the rest of the team to make sure they’re not at risk of an outbreak.

Here are more COVID-related updates from around the league:

  • The Hornets announced today (via Twitter) that Ish Smith has cleared the health and safety protocols and is joining LaMelo Ball in the G League on Wednesday to practice with the Greensboro Swarm for reconditioning purposes. Smith and Ball will have to pass cardiac tests before they get the OK to return to action for Charlotte.
  • Celtics wing Josh Richardson, who entered the protocols last Friday, has been cleared and returned to practice today, per head coach Ime Udoka (Twitter link via Jared Weiss of The Athletic). Richardson, who is rumored to be unvaccinated, may have been a close contact of someone who tested positive rather than registering a positive test himself.
  • Pat Graham of The Associated Press takes a look at how the NBA schedule has been impacted by COVID-19 for the first time this season and notes that the league’s new booster-related guidelines will go into effect this Friday.

Eastern Notes: Randle, Middleton, Celtics, Bogdanovic, Bamba

With the Knicks going through rough times, leadership is essential. However, Julius Randle‘s personality doesn’t lend itself to that role, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Randle, who was signed to a $106MM+ extension, doesn’t fit the mold of a vocal leader and can occasionally be a loner in the locker room, according to Berman.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Khris Middleton suffered a hyperextended left knee on Monday but Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is optimistic the injury isn’t significant, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets“We’ll know more (Tuesday), but I think there’s some hope that it’s not serious,” he said. “But you’ve got to weigh it and give it time.”
  • Celtics president Brad Stevens needs to shake up the roster, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer opines. Rather than dealing one of his stars, Stevens needs to improve the supporting cast by moving veterans such as Marcus Smart, Josh Richardson and Al Horford or young players such as Robert Williams and Romeo Langford, according to O’Connor, who adds that shooting and play-making should be the top priorities in any potential deal.
  • Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, sidelined since late November by a right ankle sprain, has progressed to individual on-court workouts, Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Bogdanovic underwent an MRI shortly after spraining the ankle and the team at that time said he’d miss at least two weeks of action.
  • Magic center Mohamed Bamba suffered a right ankle sprain on Sunday, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel reports. It’s unclear how much time Bamba might miss due to the injury, which occurred during the third quarter of the team’s game against the Lakers.

Celtics’ Josh Richardson Enters Protocols

Celtics wing Josh Richardson has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, the team announced (Twitter link). He will miss the game against Phoenix Friday night, and possibly several more.

It’s unclear at this time whether Richardson tested positive or not, but if he did, he would need to isolate for at least 10 days or until he returns two consecutive negative PCR tests a minimum of 24 hours apart.

The Celtics acquired Richardson in a trade over the summer by using a trade exception and sending Moses Brown to the Mavs. He later inked a one-year extension with Boston, so he’ll earn $24MM over the next two seasons.

Richardson is having a solid season in a reserve role for the 13-13 Celtics, currently the No. 10 seed in the East. Through 20 games (24.4 MPG), he’s averaging 9.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 1.3 APG on .464/.354/824 shooting. Fellow reserves Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith, and Payton Pritchard figure to see more action in Richardson’s stead.

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Brown, Schröder, VanVleet, Bonga, Claxton

A report stating that the Celtics have interest in Ben Simmons prompted Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe to explore whether Boston should aggressively pursue a deal for Simmons, and Jay King and Rich Hofmann of The Athletic to discuss whether the 25-year-old would make the C’s a better team.

Simmons’ play-making ability would make him an intriguing fit for the Celtics and Washburn hears from a league source that the three-time All-Star would be interested in coming to Boston. However, the general sense is that it would be very difficult for the two division rivals to find an agreement that works for both sides. The Sixers are unlikely to accept an offer that doesn’t include Jaylen Brown, whereas the Celtics are unlikely to include Brown in any offer.

In fact, multiple league sources who spoke to Brian Robb of were “adamant” that the Celtics don’t have any interest in moving Brown at all, either for Simmons or in any other deal. I’m sure Boston would reconsider that stance if a player a tier above Brown became available, but presumably the team doesn’t view Simmons as that sort of player.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Celtics intend to keep Dennis Schröder in their starting lineup while Brown recovers from his hamstring strain in order to have Josh Richardson and the club’s young wings remain in their bench roles, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
  • Besides wanting to get back to the playoffs, Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has a series of individual goals that he’d like to achieve, as he said on The Raptors Show with Will Lou (link via“I definitely would like to be an All-Star,” VanVleet said. “I want to win all the awards. I want to be All-Defensive … Those are all goals that I have. The good thing for me is that I probably won’t achieve any of those if we aren’t a good team or a top team.”
  • Raptors forward Isaac Bonga has accepted a G League assignment, according to Blake Murphy of (Twitter links). Because he’s in his fourth NBA season, Bonga had to sign off on being sent to the NBAGL. The 22-year-old has only logged seven minutes across three games in Toronto so far, but should get a chance to play a starring role for the Raptors 905 when they open their season on Thursday.
  • The Nets recalled center Nicolas Claxton from the G League on Tuesday, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Despite being back with Brooklyn, Claxton has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game and there’s still no indication he’s closer to returning from the illness that has sidelined him since October 25.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Udoka, Richardson, Simmons

It’s possible that Nets guard Kyrie Irving will make his only appearance of the season at the All-Star Game, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Irving appears ready to sit out the entire year rather than comply with a New York City vaccine mandate that requires him to get the shot before he can play in his home arena. However, there’s no mandate in Cleveland, which will host the February 20 game, so there’s nothing to stop Irving from playing if fans vote him onto the team.

The revised NBA All-Star ballot lists all active players, which includes Irving, who is still on the Nets’ roster even though he’s currently unlikely to play. Lewis notes that Irving has a lot of fan support with more than 4.3 million followers on Twitter and 15.5 million on Instagram. He may also get a lot of votes from people looking to make a political statement in opposition to vaccine mandates.

Fan balloting will make up 50% of the final vote this year, with the rest split between the media and the players. Lewis considers it unlikely that the league would prevent Irving from participating in the game if he does get voted in.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics coach Ime Udoka clarified reports of a players-only meeting that his team had before Wednesday’s game in Orlando, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Udoka said the gathering, which came in the wake of complaints by Marcus Smart that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown aren’t passing the ball enough, was less dramatic that the media made it seem. “It wasn’t really a players-only meeting,” Udoka said. “We had a team dinner scheduled way before anything happened, so that was planned for some weeks now. And we gave the players their time before the coaching staff and everybody else came down. So they had about 30 minutes on their own, but it wasn’t anything scheduled. It wasn’t anything scheduled by them.”
  • Celtics swingman Josh Richardson is back in the lineup tonight after missing Thursday’s game with a left foot contusion, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Richardson underwent an X-ray on the foot to make sure there’s no structural damage, Weiss reports in a separate story. It’s welcome news for Boston, which could be without Brown for several games.
  • The longer the Sixers‘ battle with Ben Simmons continues, the less likely it becomes that either side will get what it wants, contends Mike Sielski of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The team began fining Simmons again this week and plans to continue until he cooperates with team doctors about his mental health treatments.