Since taking over as President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens has been far from shy about pulling the trigger on a trade. Entering his third season in the new role, the Celtics roster looks drastically different than it did when the former coach took over.
In the last couple of years, the Cs have managed to bring in names including Al Horford, Josh Richardson, Malcolm Brogdon, and even their most recent additions, Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday. With the variety of moves made, it’s hard to pinpoint just one trade that has stood out.
However, looking back on some of the moves, perhaps the best trade Stevens has pulled off may be the trade that a lot of people overlooked when it first happened.
Derrick White may be Brad Stevens’s best move as Boston Celtics GM
In 2022, the Celtics acquired Derrick White from the San Antonio Spurs in a trade-deadline deal for a package including Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, and a first-round pick. At the time, the move seemingly sent half of the Celtics fan base into a frenzy. Nonetheless, the noise quieted down a bit when White helped lead Boston to the NBA Finals that same season.
Two seasons later, White has not only continued to develop into one of the better two-way players in the league, but the Colorado product is starting to form into a star of his own. In 110 games with the Boston Celtics, White is averaging 12.2 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game. Although the box score stats aren’t flashy, the impact White has on the court
The six-foot-four guard managed to make an All-NBA defensive team last season. And with owner Wyc Grousbeck deciding the Celtics were not going to bring the same team back this season following last season’s ECF loss, it gave Stevens the confidence to be able to move Marcus Smart in the offseason. Now, White has been given the keys as the Celtics primary perimeter defender alongside Jrue Holiday.
Not only has White been a standout defensively, but the playmaker has also shown his growth on offense as well. Boston’s stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown encouraged White to be more aggressive on offense, and it’s shown to start the season. The 29-year-old is averaging 20 points per game through the first two games, including a 28-point outing to help the C’s get revenge against the Miami Heat on Friday night.
White’s consistency on offense and defense alone has been huge for the Celtics, and as time goes on, his play makes Brad Stevens look like a genius for his in-season move to acquire the guard. And while it’s hard to see the impact Porzingis and Holiday may make for Boston now, at the moment, it should be more than an argument that the Derrick White trade ranks at the top of Stevens’ list of moves.