Celtics coach Ime Udoka explains why Derrick White will be perfect fit


Derrick White was the most notable acquisition for the Boston Celtics ahead of a busy NBA trade deadline Thursday afternoon.

The Celtics gave up Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, a protected 2022 first-round draft pick and a 2028 first-round pick swap (top-1 protected) to pry White from the San Antonio Spurs.

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka explained Friday why he thinks White will be a fantastic fit in Boston.

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"I am (excited). Obviously, I have a history with him. I coached him his first few years in the league," Udoka said on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Zolak & Bertrand" show. "I worked with him at USA Basketball. Some of our coaches and players know him pretty well, too."

Udoka added: "He checks a ton of boxes. He's a perfect fit on and off the court. A guy who's going to come right in and be selfless, work hard offensively and defensively. He'll do a lot of things for us -- another guy with good length who can add versatility to our group.

"But more appealing than that is he knows what I want. I know him well and where he's been brought up, we have a lot of similarities in our background. He should fit in seamlessly. Jaylen (Brown) and Jayson (Tatum), Marcus (Smart), were all with him at Team USA, so they have a common bond there as well."

White is a quality defender, a consistent scorer (14.4 points per game this season) and signed to a reasonable contract through 2024-25.

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He also can play multiple positions and brings much-needed toughness to the C's roster. White isn't an amazing 3-point shooter, but he should get better looks in Boston than he did in San Antonio as defenses focus most of their attention trying to stop Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

The Celtics gave up a bunch of assets to acquire White, but he does make them a better team with his defense, bench scoring and versatility.