Tristan Thompson

Celtics Rumors: Richardson Trade, Fournier, Thompson, Parker

The Celtics may have been quiet on draft night, but they’re making noise now. After agreeing to trade Tristan Thompson for the Hawks’ Kris Dunn and Bruno Fernando and sending Moses Brown to the Mavericks for Josh Richardson, the Celtics have given themselves some extra flexibility from both a financial and roster perspective, writes The Athletic’s Jared Weiss.

Evan Fournier‘s market seems to be in the range of $12-$20MM per year, according to Weiss, who points out that dealing for Richardson affords the Celtics the option of walking away if the bidding war gets too rich for them. It sounds like that’s a very realistic possibility, as Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald hears from a source that Boston is unwilling to meet Fournier’s asking price of $80MM over four years.

“It’s not looking good,” Murphy’s source said of the Celtics’ negotiations with Fournier.

Meanwhile, there’s no guarantee that the Celtics will hang onto Dunn, according to Weiss, who says the former lottery pick  could be flipped again. Weiss suggests that two viable options for dealing Dunn could be to the Cavaliers – along with one of the Celtics’ young players – in a deal for Larry Nance Jr., or to the Pelicans – with Marcus Smart – in a Lonzo Ball sign-and-trade.

We have more rumors on the Celtics:

  • According to Weiss, while Thompson was beloved by teammates, he butted heads with the coaching staff and the organization throughout the year and was widely expected to be moved this offseason.
  • In the same piece, Weiss cites The Athletic’s Danny Leroux, who explains that the Celtics now project to be about $4.36MM below the tax line if Jabari Parker (who has a non-guaranteed contract) is waived.
  • The Celtics wanted to send more guaranteed money to the Mavericks in the Josh Richardson deal, but Dallas initially didn’t want to take any money back, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Moses Brown was the compromise found, given the low guarantee on his deal ($500K).
  • Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets that the Celtics’ front office, especially Brad Stevens, has long been a fan of Richardson, who will be looking to get back on track in Boston after a down year in Dallas.

Tristan Thompson Headed To Kings in Three-Way Deal

The Celtics are trading veteran big man Tristan Thompson to the Hawks for guard Kris Dunn, forward Bruno Fernando and a 2023 second-rounder, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

However, Thompson isn’t staying with the Hawks. He’s being forwarded to the Kings, with guard Delon Wright going to Atlanta.

All the players in the three-way deal have expiring contracts. Thompson will make $9.7MM next season, while Dunn will secure just over $5MM and Fernando will collect $1.8MM. Wright will make approximately $8.5MM next season.

The move pushes the Celtics another $3MM below the luxury tax threshold, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Dunn had a player option on his contract and opted in earlier this week, which made the trade viable.

After nine seasons in Cleveland, Thompson played in 54 regular-season games with the Celtics, including 43 starts. He averaged 7.6 PPG and 8.1 RPG.

Dunn’s lone season in Atlanta was a washout due to an ankle injury.  He only appeared in four regular-season games, but does give the Celtics another option for their backcourt rotation with Kemba Walker getting traded this offseason.

Fernando, an early second-round pick in 2019, appeared in 89 regular-season games during his first two years in the league.

Thompson gives the Kings some frontcourt insurance with Richaun Holmes entering free agency.

Wright averaged 10.0 PPG and 3.6 APG in 27 games with Sacramento after being acquired from Detroit at the trade deadline. Wright can play either guard spot and will likely slide into a backup role with Atlanta.

Olympic Notes: Lillard, Green, Canada, Serbia, Italy

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Warriors forward/center Draymond Green are among the first players to commit to Team USA ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, sources tell Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Team USA figures to bring more than a dozen players to its initial camp this summer before paring down the roster to 12 for Tokyo, so Lillard’s and Green’s commitments don’t guarantee that they’ll be part of the final Olympic roster. However, it seems safe to assume that spots on the 12-man squad will be reserved for the two stars as long as they remain healthy and committed.

Green won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, while Lillard has yet to play for Team USA in a major international tournament. Green and Lillard are two of the 57 names listed as part of USA Basketball’s initial player pool in March, though as we noted last week, many of the players on that list seem unlikely to participate for a variety of reasons, including injuries.

Here are a few more updates from around the international basketball world:

  • Team Canada’s preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament later this month included 14 current NBA players. However, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic and Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter links), at least three of those NBA players – Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks, and Celtics center Tristan Thompson – now aren’t expected to participate.
  • The Serbian national team is preparing for the possibility of being without several key players for this month’s qualifying tournament, according to a MozzartSport report (hat tip to Sportando). Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic and reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets are among the players considered unlikely to be available for the OQT in Belgrade.
  • Longtime NBA shooting guard Marco Belinelli announced that he won’t be part of the Italian team attempting to earn an Olympic berth at this month’s qualifying tournament in Belgrade, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Belinelli, who is now playing for Virtus Bologna, wants to rest to make sure he’s 100% healthy for next season.

14 NBA Players On Canada’s Preliminary Olympic Qualifying Roster

Team Canada has yet to secure a place in the men’s basketball event at the Tokyo Olympics, but the club should have a loaded roster as it looks to lock up a spot in a qualifying tournament next month.

Canada Basketball issued a press release today announcing its 21-player preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifier, and the group includes 14 players who finished the season on NBA contracts. Here’s the full list:

Of the seven players who didn’t play in the NBA this season, one (Bennett) is a former first overall pick, another (Nicholson) was also a first-round selection, and a third (Alexander) has NBA experience. Bell-Haynes has played in the G League, while Doornekamp, Ejim, and Nembhard all have extensive experience representing Canada in past international competitions.

Still, a few noteworthy names are missing from the list. Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is recovering from a torn ACL and won’t be able to participate. Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is also dealing with an injury, announcing on Instagram that rehabbing the plantar fasciitis in his right foot will prevent him from representing Team Canada.

Raptors big man Chris Boucher is a third notable omission. According to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link), Boucher is focused on rehabbing a knee sprain and wants to make sure he’s 100% healthy heading into 2021/22. He also has a somewhat uncertain contract situation — his $7MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed, though I’d be shocked if he’s not retained.

Even without Murray, Gilgeous-Alexander, and Boucher, Canada Basketball is in position to run out a roster stacked with NBA talent and led by former NBA Coach of the Year Nick Nurse.

While the final roster will depend in part on which players are available, none of the 21 players on the preliminary are on teams expected to still be alive for the conference finals. However, a club like Powell’s Mavericks or Barrett’s Knicks could surprise.

Team Canada will compete against Greece, China, Uruguay, Turkey, and the Czech Republic in a qualifying tournament in Victoria, British Columbia between June 29 and July 4. If the club wins that six-team qualifier, it will be part of the 12-team field in Tokyo and would be a legit contender for a medal.

Celtics Notes: Fournier, R. Williams, Thompson, Irving

The Celtics were expecting to use Evan Fournier in a sixth-man role for the playoffs, but an injury to Jaylen Brown changed those plans, writes Souichi Terada of MassLive. With Brown unavailable after having surgery for a torn wrist ligament, Fournier will be part of the starting lineup in the first-round series against the Nets.

Acquired from the Magic at the trade deadline, Fournier has been productive since returning from the league’s health and safety protocols. In 16 games with the Celtics, he is averaging 13.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per night and shooting a sizzling 46.3% from three-point range. Fournier’s time in Orlando gave him some experience in approaching the playoffs as a low-seeded team.

“There’s no secret,” he said. “Being the lowest seed playing against the No. 1 or second seed, you just have to compete against them. When you play the best teams in the NBA, you have to compete. You have to show them that everything they’re going to get is hard.”

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Center Robert Williams is available to play tonight, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Williams had to leave Tuesday’s play-in game against the Wizards because of turf toe and sat out Friday’s practice.
  • Due to Williams’ unpredictable status, the Celtics will have to rely more heavily on veteran big man Tristan Thompson, notes Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Boston signed Thompson as a free agent during the offseason to add a veteran with plenty of playoff experience to its front court. “I think that his role probably looms large regardless,” coach Brad Stevens said.
  • The matchup with the Nets will give Boston fans plenty of opportunity to vent their anger at Kyrie Irving, the former Celtic who told season ticket holders in 2018 that he was planning to re-sign with the team, Murphy adds in a separate story. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge believes Irving was sincere at the time and speculated that changing circumstances prompted him to reconsider his pledge. “No grudges, no second-guessing,” Ainge said. “I just wish him well. He was a player that came through this organization. I appreciate how talented he was, how much he wanted to win, and I’m grateful for the experience to get to know him.”
  • The Celtics plan to increase their crowd size for Game 3 of the playoff series and hope to be “near full” capacity for Game 4, tweets Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.

Atlantic Notes: Thompson, Fournier, Johnson, Shamet, Hill

After missing nearly a month due to a positive COVID-19 test, Celtics big man Tristan Thompson returned earlier this week, a welcome sight for a Boston team struggling to play consistently. However, Thompson detailed a difficult battle with the virus while he was away from the team.

“That s–t’s no joke,” Thompson told reporters, including Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link). “That was a battle. I had all the symptoms except losing my taste and smell, so at least I could enjoy my food.”

Thompson, 30, has appeared in 38 games (31 starts) in his first season with the Celtics, averaging 7.9 PPG and 8.3 RPG. While his production is down, Boston is happy to have some size back in the frontcourt, especially given Thompson’s postseason experience. In the meantime, Thompson is looking forward to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

“…I’m definitely going to get the vaccine as soon as I can get it,” Thompson said, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link).

Check out more news and notes from the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics head coach Brad Stevens announced that trade deadline acquisition Evan Fournier will not travel with the team during its upcoming road trip, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link). Fournier has appeared in four games for the Celtics since being shipped to Boston, averaging 11.5 PPG off the bench, but is currently sidelined due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
  • Alize Johnson‘s second 10-day pact with the Nets is ending this Sunday and it remains to be seen what the team does with him. Johnson said he wants to keep showing the club “that I belong and I wanna be here,” per NetsDaily. Brian Lewis of the New York Post breaks down the Nets’ upcoming decision on whether or not to keep Johnson.
  • After missing a series of games due to an ankle injury, Landry Shamet is expected to return for the Nets on Saturday, Lewis writes in a separate story. Brooklyn has dealt with a series of injuries but are slowly seeing players return, including Kevin Durant after a two-month absence.
  • While it remains unclear when it will happen, Sixers guard George Hill, whom the team acquired at the trade deadline, expects to return this season, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Twitter link). “No one knows the timetable yet,” Hill said. “But I will be back this season for sure. I will be back before playoffs for sure.”

Atlantic Notes: Quickley, Bembry, Johnson, Reed

Immanuel Quickley had an impressive start to his rookie season with the Knicks. The 6’3″ guard, who was the 25th overall pick out of Kentucky, scored at least 19 points in 11 of his first 36 NBA games. However, over the last few weeks, Quickley has hit a wall and fallen into a shooting slump. The Knicks have also dropped four of their previous five games. 

With Quickley struggling, Marc Berman of the New York Post wonders whether the rookie has a future as a starting NBA point guard or if he’ll end up as a bench scorer. Berman elicits opinions from multiple scouts in his look at Quickley’s future role.

“He played above his pay grade the first few months,’” said former Sixers scout Michael VandeGarde, who now runs a scouting service. “He’s coming back down to earth. It happens a lot with kids for short periods when they play so well early. Only time will tell what he really is.’”

More from the Atlantic Division: 

  • Veteran guard DeAndre’ Bembry signed a two-year deal with the Raptors before the season, and while the signing went under the radar, he has been vital to his new team. As Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes, Bembry is capable of guarding at least three positions on defense and has shown enough on offense to earn himself regular playing time.
  • Celtics big man Tristan Thompson appears ready to make his return after a lengthy absence due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, tweets Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Thompson last played on March 14.
  • While he doesn’t receive as much attention as his star teammates, Alize Johnson who’s currently on his second 10-day contract in Brooklyn, is providing the Nets with strong production. “There are some nights where it might not look like he’s showing up on the stat sheet, but he does all the little stuff all the time. And then when we need him to come up for us offensively, he typically does,” Nets guard Joe Harris said of Johnson, per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post.
  • Rich Hofmann of The Athletic profiled Sixers rookie Paul Reed, taking a look at the NBA G League MVP known as “Bball Paul.” While Reed may not see a ton of playing time the rest of the way, he’s “now very much part of the Sixers’ team fabric,” Hofmann writes.

Celtics’ Evan Fournier In Health And Safety Protocols

The Celtics were hoping Evan Fournier would make his debut with the team tonight, but he is listed on the injury report as being in the league’s health and safety protocols, writes Souichi Terada of MassLive.

Privacy regulations prevent the Celtics and the NBA from releasing any more information on Fournier, who was acquired from the Magic at Thursday’s trade deadline. Coach Brad Stevens told reporters Friday that Fournier was in Boston to take his physical.

There’s no way to know how long Fournier will be required to stay in the protocols, but players who are undergoing contact tracing typically return within seven days if they continue to test negative for COVID-19. Terada points out that the Celtics only have 27 games remaining and would face a limited time to get Fournier accustomed to his new teammates if he’s out for an extended period.

Boston is also listing Romeo Langford and Tristan Thompson out due to health and safety protocols, Terada adds. Langford has been in the protocols since the All-Star break, but there’s hope he can return next week. Thompson has missed the past seven games, and there’s no timetable for him to come back.

Celtics Notes: Kornet, Smart, Fournier, R. Williams, More

After completing a three-team trade with Chicago and Washington that sent Moritz Wagner and Luke Kornet to Boston, the Celtics are expected to waive a player to pursue a veteran big man on the buyout market, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, who says Kornet would likely be the odd man out.

However, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link) hears that there are no immediate plans to drop Kornet. As Himmelsbach explains, since Daniel Theis is now a Bull and Tristan Thompson remains sidelined due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Celtics may need some extra depth at the five in the short term.

Himmelsbach’s report makes sense — whether Kornet remains on the roster for another day, another week, or the rest of the season, the Celtics will owe him the same amount of money, so the logical move would be to hang onto him until the team lines up a deal with a free agent center.

Of course, there’s no guarantee anything will materialize on the buyout market, but the Celtics intend to weigh all the options, as Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said today (Twitter link via Keith Smith of RealGM).

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Within his Athletic story linked above, Weiss suggests that Thursday’s series of moves provide further evidence that Celtics ownership is reluctant to green-light a “long-term deep dive” into luxury tax territory.
  • Ainge assured Marcus Smart that the team wasn’t shopping him and that his name only came up in trade rumors prior to the deadline because he was being brought up by teams interested in him, a source tells Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link). Smart was rumored to be part of the club’s trade talks with Orlando, but ultimately stayed put.
  • Having previously stated that he preferred not to use the Celtics’ massive trade exception on a player with an expiring contract, Ainge explained on Friday to reporters that he felt comfortable committing a significant chunk of that TPE toward Evan Fournier because he’s hopeful the veteran wing will remain in Boston beyond this season (Twitter links via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston). Ainge also said part of the reason he wanted to land an impact scorer like Fournier was that he sensed internal discouragement and wanted the players and coaches to “feel hope” (Twitter link via Forsberg).
  • The trade of Theis will free up a bigger role for Robert Williams going forward, according to Ainge, who said the third-year big man has been the club’s best defensive center this season (Twitter links via Smith).
  • Ainge said that Wagner and Kornet could join the Celtics as soon as today, while Fournier could report to the team in Oklahoma City this weekend. Additionally, the hope is that Thompson and Romeo Langford will be available at some point next week (Twitter links via Forsberg).

Celtics Rumors: Gordon, Nesmith, Smart, Langford, More

The Celtics and Nuggets continue to lead the Aaron Gordon sweepstakes, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, who reports that the Magic forward would welcome the opportunity to play for either team, or for the Trail Blazers.

While one Wednesday report suggested that Denver had taken the lead as the frontrunner to land Gordon, the Celtics continue to pursue the veteran forward, with John Collins and Harrison Barnes looking to be increasingly less likely targets, Weiss writes.

Weiss suggests that the Timberwolves appear to be falling back in the race to land Gordon, but all indications are that the Magic will continue talks right up until the deadline.

According to Weiss, the Celtics’ desire package for Gordon would be Aaron Nesmith and a first-round pick, giving Orlando the opportunity to create a sizeable traded player exception. However, the team will likely need to up that offer, either by including another first-rounder or by expanding the trade to include Marcus Smart and Evan Fournier.

Here’s more from Weiss on the Celtics:

  • While Romeo Langford was mentioned on Wednesday along with Nesmith as a candidate to be an outgoing piece in a Gordon trade, Weiss says the former Hoosiers guard doesn’t have much value due to his injury history and the fact that he was already a “polarizing” prospect entering the 2019 draft. As such, it doesn’t make much sense for the Celtics to sell low on him. Nesmith has more trade value, as Weiss notes.
  • Grant Williams and Semi Ojeleye haven’t been included in any trade packages that have “advanced to a serious stage,” sources tell Weiss.
  • One league source speculated to Weiss that there’s a chance the Celtics could do something more complex involving Gordon, like sending Smart to Orlando and trading draft capital to New Orleans for Lonzo Ball. However, that sounds like a longer shot.
  • Tristan Thompson has been frequently mentioned as a trade candidate, and there’s been some frustration that his on-court impact has been modest, per Weiss. However, Thompson is close with Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker, and even if there’s been some frustration with his production, it hasn’t become “animosity” by any means.