The Boston Celtics were involved in a pair of moves to reshuffle their roster Friday that saw them ship out center Tristan Thompson and bring back three players: guard Kris Dunn and center Bruno Fernando from the Atlanta Hawks and guard Josh Richardson from the Dallas Mavericks.
The first deal saw Thompson wind up with the Sacramento Kings, guard Delon Wright go from Sacramento to Atlanta and Dunn and Fernando wind up in Boston, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Boston also received a 2023 second-round pick in the deal, sources said.
Later Friday, Boston struck another deal, with sources confirming that the Celtics landed Richardson from the Mavericks by using the remainder of the trade exception created by the sign-and-trade deal that sent Gordon Hayward to the Charlotte Hornets in November.
Boston now has 13 players with fully guaranteed contracts for next season and are around $5 million in guaranteed money below the projected luxury tax line of $136.6 million for the 2021-22 season, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
The Celtics will enter free agency next week with at least one significant decision ahead of them: the possibility of re-signing guard Evan Fournier, whom they acquired with the remainder of the Hayward trade exception in March in the hours leading up to the trade deadline. With their current roster situation, re-signing Fournier would push the Celtics well into the luxury tax for next season.
Richardson, who will turn 28 in September, is about to play on his fourth team in as many years in the wake of back-to-back disappointing seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers and Mavericks. After being acquired by the Sixers in a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler two summers ago, Richardson struggled to find a fit in Philadelphia. Then, after being swapped for Seth Curry during the 2020 NBA draft in November, Richardson averaged 12.1 points for Dallas but tied a career low in shooting 33 percent from 3-point range.
He also went from starting all but three regular season games for the Mavericks to coming off the bench for all seven games of Dallas’ first-round playoff series loss to the LA Clippers — including playing less than 10 minutes in each of the final three games of that series.
Richardson, who had a player option for the 2021-22 season, will exercise that option to remain under contract as part of this deal.
Thompson, 30, averaged 7.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in 54 games for the Celtics last season, his first time playing anywhere outside of Cleveland, where he spent the first nine years of his NBA career. But with the emergence of third-year center Robert Williams III, plus the return of center Al Horford as part of the Kemba Walker trade last month, there wasn’t a need for Thompson any longer in Boston.
Now, though, he’s headed to Sacramento, where he will give the Kings insurance at the center spot with starter Richaun Holmes set to be an unrestricted free agent Monday.
Dunn, 27, played just four games during the regular season as he dealt with multiple injury issues, and then saw a total of 33 minutes of action across five playoff games during Atlanta’s run to the Eastern Conference finals. If healthy, the former Providence College star could provide the Celtics some defense on the wing.
Fernando, who will turn 23 in August, averaged 1.5 points across 33 games last year for Atlanta. He was the 34th pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
Wright averaged 10.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 63 games split between the Detroit Pistons and the Kings last season. The 29-year-old, now playing for his sixth team, gives Atlanta some depth in the backcourt behind Trae Young, where he can either be his backup or play alongside impending free agent Lou Williams if the Hawks are able to re-sign him.
All five players involved in both deals are on contracts that will expire at the end of the 2021-22 season. Richardson will make $11.6 million next season; Thompson is set to make $9.7 million; Wright will make $8.5 million; Dunn will make just over $5 million and Fernando is set to make $1.7 million.
The Athletic was first to report the Celtics acquiring Richardson.