Cannot afford to trade: Derrick White
White is the most underrated Celtic. The 6’4 guard is an elite defender who is no stranger to locking down the opposition’s lead ball-handler. On the other end, White makes plays, spaces the floor, and keeps their offense rolling. ESPN may not view him as a top 100 player, but his teammates recognize his massive impact.
In their first 20 games, the Celtics are 14-3 with White in the lineup and 1-2 when he has sat out. The 29-year-old can adapt his game to whatever role the team needs. He scored 28 points in a win over the Heat and 27 to top the 76ers. White dropped 11 dimes against the Hawks in another victory. His versatile skill set and two-way impact are crucial.
White is under contract for $19.5 million in the 2024-25 season and becomes extension-eligible in the offseason. Boston needs to lock him in long-term. The 29-year-old will likely command a hefty raise, but the Celtics are not the same team without him.
Derrick White and Jrue Holiday form arguably the best defensive backcourt in the NBA and no team wants to face the Celtics. They will be over the second tax apron next season, so it is important to maximize their title odds over multiple years. Boston must extend White and Holiday, and cannot afford to lose an aging big man.