The Boston Celtics made two roster transactions on Friday, sending center Tristan Thompson to the Atlanta Hawks and bringing back three players from the Dallas Mavericks: guard Kris Dunn and center Bruno Fernando from the Atlanta Hawks and guard Josh Richardson from the Dallas Mavericks.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Thompson ended up with the Sacramento Kings, guard Delon Wright went from Sacramento to Atlanta, while Dunn and Fernando ended up in Boston. According to insiders, Boston also obtained a 2023 second-round pick in the deal.
Later Friday, the Celtics grabbed Richardson from the Mavericks, according to sources, by utilizing the balance of the trade exception generated by the sign-and-trade deal that sent Gordon Hayward to the Charlotte Hornets in November.
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Boston now has 13 players with fully guaranteed contracts for next season, and is about $5 million in guaranteed money below the estimated luxury tax line of $136.6 million for the 2021-22 season.
The Celtics will enter free agency next week with at least one major decision to make: whether or not to re-sign guard Evan Fournier, whom they acquired with the remaining Hayward trade exception in the final hours before the deadline in March. Re-signing Fournier would push the Celtics deep into the luxury tax for next season, given their present roster scenario.
After back-to-back unsuccessful seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks, Richardson, who will be 28 in September, is about to play on his fourth team in as many years. Richardson struggled to fit in with the Sixers after being acquired in a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler two summers ago. Richardson then averaged 12.1 points per game for Dallas after being traded for Seth Curry at the 2020 NBA draft in November, but he tied a career low by shooting 33 percent from 3-point range.
Last season, Thompson, 30, averaged 7.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in 54 games for the Celtics, his first time playing anyplace other than Cleveland, where he spent his first nine years in the NBA. Thompson was no longer needed in Boston with the emergence of third-year center Robert Williams III and the return of center Al Horford as part of the Kemba Walker trade last month.
He’s now on his way to Sacramento, where he’ll provide insurance at center for the Kings, since starter Richaun Holmes is poised to become an unrestricted free agency on Monday.