Celtics

What Kemba trade could mean for Tristan Thompson, Evan Fournier

Celtics

The Boston Celtics made a blockbuster trade Friday, but there's a good chance they're not done dealing yet.

Brad Stevens completed his first trade as Celtics president of basketball operations by sending Kemba Walker, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2025 second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second-rounder.

The move saves Boston roughly $9 million in cap space heading into the offseason, giving Stevens more flexibility to improve the roster around young superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown after a disappointing 2020-21 campaign.

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So, what's the next shoe to drop? The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach shared three noteworthy nuggets Friday in the fallout of the deal.

Evan Fournier is set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer after making $17 million in 2020-21. The 28-year-old was averaging nearly 20 points per game for the Orlando Magic before coming to the Celtics, where his scoring average dipped to 13 points per game over 10 contests.

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That's a small sample size, though, and the C's apparently are interested in bringing Fournier back as a third or fourth scoring option. It's unclear what the market will be like for Fournier in free agency, but Boston now has more resources to make a competitive offer.

 

As for Tristan Thompson, the writing seems to be on the wall for his Celtics tenure with two big men entering the fold in Horford and Brown. But Himmelsbach notes Brown is no shoo-in to be on the team this season, so the C's may at least entertain keeping Thompson on the final year of his deal at $9.7 million. They also could look to move him at the 2022 NBA trade deadline if no deal materializes this summer.

Boston's top priority should be finding a legitimate third piece to pair with Tatum and Brown. It's possible that piece ends up being Fournier, but Stevens would do well to explore other options on the free-agent and trade markets this summer now that he has some financial breathing room.