The Celtics finally strike. Boston agreed to a two-year, $19 million deal with Tristan Thompson on Saturday, according to multiple reports. After a mostly quiet free agency period from an acquisition standpoint, the Celts agreed to terms with the former No. 4 pick. Thompson, 29, has spent the entirety of his nine-year career with the Cavaliers. Last season he averaged a career-best 12.0 points per game, adding 10.1 rebounds a night for good measure. Let’s grade the deal.
This move fills a need for Boston, which needed some more heft in its center rotation. The Celtics moved Enes Kanter to Portland earlier in the week, and while he had some nice moments here and there last season, his defensive deficiencies made him a liability in the playoffs. Thompson won’t be asked to play a major role, but he’ll be important for Boston based on certain matchups. The former Texas star offers a little more bulk than the incumbent Daniel Theis, and while he’s not quite as switchy, Thompson can hold his own a little more against beefier bigs down low.
NBA Free Agency Roundup: Every Signing So Far
With Thompson, Boston should have a little more flexibility in the postseason. Put Theis around Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum, and you can switch everything. Or if you need someone to help on the glass, or trade blows with Joel Embiid on the block, Thompson can more adequately fill that role. Two years is a good length for both sides. Boston isn’t locked in if one of their younger frontcourt players develops, or another becomes available in a trade. And Thompson can re-enter the market at 31 and probably continue to find work as a mid-level big who won’t be a massive target come playoff time. This isn’t exactly a big splash, but it’s smart business for both sides.