BOSTON (CBS) -- Brad Stevens' first trade deadline day is in the books. It was an active one for the Celtics and their president of basketball ops, albeit slightly underwhelming and a little bit confusing.
A blockbuster deal was not expected. But after weeks of hearing that the Celtics didn't want to add any money to the books, and that they certainly didn't want to add players with too many years left on their contract, Stevens traded for a pair of players with a lot of money and a lot of years left on their deals. Somehow, they managed to get under the luxury tax with the moves, so at least the owners have that going for them.
But the Celtics did pick up Derrick White from San Antonio, who is a really good two-way combo guard that will fit nicely into the Boston rotation. And he'll have to, since the Celtics traded Josh Richardson for him, who was playing really well in the Boston rotation.
Stevens also brought back a player he absolutely loved when he was coaching the Celtics in big man Daniel Theis. With the two moves that actually brought back something in return, rather than just some savings, Stevens retooled Boston's bench, and other than Richardson, he dealt away guys that Ime Udoka wasn't playing.
Did the Celtics get better on Thursday? Just a little bit. You may disagree with that depending on how you feel about the White pickup. The Celtics are really going to lean on their defense the rest of the way, which isn't a terrible thing considering they own the best defense in the NBA. Where the offense will come from other than Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown (and those explosive Rob Williams lobs) is still a question mark, but White may be able to bring some shooting off the bench in addition to some really solid defense.
Here's what Stevens did -- and perceivably accomplished -- on his first deadline day as the man in charge of the Celtics front office.
Trade 1: For The Books
In his first deadline day trade, Stevens sent the injured Bol Bol and PJ Dozier -- both of whom never played a game with the Celtics after being acquired in a three-team trade last month -- along with some cash and a second-round pick to the Magic for a conditional second-round pick. Boston will likely never see that second-round pick, either.
What it means: This was purely a bookkeeping move to open roster spots and trim money. Moving on.
Trade 2: Picking Up Derrick White
Boston acquired the San Antonio combo guard for Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, a 2022 first-round pick and a possible pick swap in 2028. It's a bit of an overpay for Boston, and it's going to really hurt if Langford blossoms under Gregg Popovich, but White is a solid pickup.
What it means: White is a good two-way guy and he's incredibly unselfish on offense. Shooting-wise, he's having a down year, which is a common trend in the NBA this season. His shooting should improve now that he'll be playing alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, much like Richardson's numbers enjoyed a bump.
He also has a relationship with Ime Udoka from their time in San Antonio, so you have to believe the C's head coach had a say in bringing in White.
White is also a solid defender who will give Boston a pretty pesky backcourt next to Marcus Smart. The East is loaded with great scoring guards, but the Celtics have a strong backcourt duo in their switching defense to try and stop them.
This isn't just a pickup for this year, either. White is signed for three more seasons at pretty reasonable money (by NBA standards, of course), with his $15.1 million slightly increasing up to $18.8 million in 2024-25, the final year of his contract.
Trade 3: The War On Theis Returns To Boston
Stevens trimmed a lot off the roster by sending Dennis Schroder, Enes Freedom and Bruno Fernando to the Rockets for one of his favorite human beings. Theis will hopefully bring his famous seal move back to spring Boston's shooters, though he'll likely see most of his run with Celtics reserves this time around. He'll still probably pick up as many fouls as he did as a starter, because such is life for Daniel Theis.
What it means: It really shows us that Stevens' love for Theis knows no bounds. Their is signed for two more years with a team option for a third. He'll be Boston's big off the bench the rest of the way, and will either be a salary-matcher for an offseason trade, or some insurance for Al Horford should the veteran fill that role this offseason.
With Schroder gone, Boston is left with Marcus Smart, White and Payton Pritchard at point guard. Pritchard is in line for a lot more playing time, and more opportunity is available for Aaron Nesmith off the bench as well. Those two needed more minutes for their development, and now they'll get them.
The Celtics have five open roster spots at the moment, so they'll be active on the buyout market. Here is Boston's current roster:
Guards: Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Payton Pritchard
Forwards: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Grant Williams, Aaron Nesmith
Big Men: Rob Williams Al Horford, Daniel Theis
Brodric Thomas is also around to fill out the guard depth, though he's seen a grand total of 28 minutes this season. Boston is also reportedly looking to turn Sam Hauser's two-way deal into a standard contract, via Keith Smith, so he can be buried on Udoka's bench.
Overall, White is a solid pickup and one that could be around for a while. That was a good move by Stevens. Landing only Daniel Theis for Schroder -- who was seen as Boston's best trade chip -- is really underwhelming, but maybe the interest in the guard around the league was greatly exaggerated.
And no one wants to hear about this summer at this moment in time, but the Celtics did add some potential salary-matching options for this offseason. We're not saying to expect fireworks this offseason, because that always blows up in Boston's face, but the C's are in a good position to be active this summer.
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