With the 2021 NBA Draft in the rearview mirror, it’s all eyes on free agency. While the Boston Celtics didn’t select a single prospect slated to join the team in 2021-22, they were plenty busy in the trade market.
Acquiring Kris Dunn and Josh Richardson overhauls the backcourt and takes the ball-handling load off of Marcus Smart. Smart has had a successful career managing his turnovers and finding teammates, but he leans on volume shooting to get his points.
Considering neither Jayson Tatum nor Jaylen Brown are the kind of stars to demand the ball in any situation, it’s better to have Smart play off-ball more often to avoid too many postseason hero-ball repeats we’ve grown accustomed to the past two playoffs.
Another side effect of the acquisitions is making the retention of 2021 trade deadline addition Evan Fournier less of a necessity. Veteran talent isn’t hard to find on this roster, and Fournier could be a pricey commodity if he continues to impress overseas at the 2020 Olympics for Team France.
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus foresees the New York Knicks being the team that throws him a deal that is more than new Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens is willing to pay:
The Boston Celtics seemed a lock to retain Evan Fournier, but with so few quality wings available in free agency, the New York Knicks outspend the Celtics to add some needed shooting.
Prediction: Fournier to the Knicks on a three-year, $55 million contract. That’s too rich for Boston’s blood and why it made a trade with the Dallas Mavericks to pick up Josh Richardson (for Moses Brown) on Saturday.
Daily Knicks likes the fit with Fournier and third-year former 2019 #3 pick R.J. Barrett on the wing, and New York could definitely use more playmaking with the potential losses of Elfrid Payton and Derrick Rose in free agency.
It’s not hard to imagine such a scenario playing out unless Stevens frees up to space to retain Fournier by getting rid of Jabari Parker, Semi Ojeleye, Aaron Nesmith, and/or Romeo Langford. Gutting up his roster to that degree isn’t terribly likely at this point.