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Report: Celtics trade Tristan Thompson for Kris Dunn in three-team deal

Celtics ship off the team’s best rebounder in an effort to maintain financial flexibility.

Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets - Game Five Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The 2021 NBA Draft was a quiet time for the Boston Celtics, opting to draft a French talent who may or may not play for the team’s (stacked) Summer League squad. The day after the draft is shaping up to be a little louder now that Tristan Thompson has been traded to the Sacramento Kings in a three-way deal with the Atlanta Hawks that sends Kris Dunn to Boston, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Boston will also receive Bruno Fernando and a 2023 second-round pick. Delon Wright is Atlanta-bound.

Before anything else, I’d like to take a moment to say that Tristan Thompson didn’t really get a fair shake here. For the first half of the year, he was put into a double-big starting lineup that really benefitted no one. After Daniel Theis was traded to the Chicago Bulls, it freed up more time for him to demonstrate his skills. His production went up a notch, and he was a key player for the Celtics in the brief first-round matchup against the Brooklyn Nets.

He never ended up being exactly what a lot of fans were hoping for, but I do appreciate that he did come in on the heels of Bam Adebayo decimating Boston’s frontcourt in the 2020 ECF and brought toughness and strong rebounding. With the trade for Al Horford and Moses Brown and the continued emergence of Robert Williams, the minutes just weren’t there for Thompson anymore. But, while his stay was brief, I do appreciate what he did for the team. He averaged 7.6 points and 8.1 rebounds on 51.8% from the field. The Celtics ranked fourth in the NBA in offensive rebounds this year with him on board.

On the receiving end, the Celtics are getting a tough defensive guard in Kris Dunn. A lot of Celtics fans should be familiar with Dunn because a lot of fans were clamoring for the team to pick him third overall. I think we did just fine with Jaylen Brown at that spot. Dunn isn’t the high-profile guard he was thought to be, but he does bring defensive prowess to a thin backcourt that, as of now, is relying on Marcus Smart as the starting lead guard.

The problem is health. He played just four games for Atlanta last year after an ankle injury. He also wasn’t better than ATL’s other options. He picked up a $5M player option for next season.

Bruno Fernando is a 6’9” center who has career averages of 3.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 0.7 assists on 49.8% shooting. I have doubts that he’ll be on the roster for a while.

The Celtics get more financial flexibility to work over the cap as the team navigates re-signing Evan Fournier, among other potential moves. However, The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach is reporting that Dunn could still be on the move and with the subsequent acquisition of Josh Richardson, the roster is still in flux.

This is just the first (second if you count Kemba Walker) domino! Stay tuned for more.

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