Celtics Rumors: Latest on Lonzo Ball, Evan Fournier and Tristan Thompson Trade

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2021

Celtics Rumors: Latest on Lonzo Ball, Evan Fournier and Tristan Thompson Trade

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Few teams have been as busy as the Boston Celtics this offseason, and president of basketball operations Brad Stevens continued to reshape the team in his vision as July came to an end, sending Tristan Thompson to the Sacramento Kings.

    That trade is but one facet of a week that also saw renewed interest in potentially trading for New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball and the realization that the team may not be able to hold on to French Olympic star Evan Fournier.

    Dive deeper into each of those topics with this collection of rumors surrounding the Eastern Conference powerhouse.

Renewed Interest in Lonzo Ball

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Might Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball be in play for a Celtics team that has already had an eventful offseason thanks to Stevens' wheeling and dealing?

    Trade buzz surrounding Ball predates February's trade deadline, with The Athletic's Shams Charania reporting New Orleans was "receiving calls" about the guard's availability. The team, looking to add talent to its squad ahead of the postseason, did not pull the proverbial trigger on any sort of trade at that time.

    After a disappointing conclusion to their season, the Celtcs are reportedly interested in the idea of adding Ball to the lineup. With the restricted free agent looking to strike a deal in the region of $21 million-22 million, both Boston, the Chicago Bulls and the Toronto Raptors have emerged as potential landing spots for the guard, Charania reported.

    Natural size and playmaking ability make him an intriguing addition to any roster. He enjoyed career highs in free-throw (78.1), three-point (37.8) and field-goal percentages (41.4) in the 2020-21 season, cleaning up what had been inconsistent shooting to that point.

    Despite the interest in Ball from Boston and the cap space the team has cleared in hopes of bolstering the roster with a like-skilled player, Chicago appears to be the most likely landing spot.

    Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Woj & Lowe, "in a perfect world for both Lonzo Ball and Chicago Bulls, they end up together."

Can the Celtics Hold On to Evan Fournier?

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    ARIS MESSINIS/Getty Images

    Few players have shone as brightly or meant more to their team's success in this year's Olympic Games than Evan Fournier has to France's squad. The versatile 28-year-old most notably put up 28 on the United States in France's first victory of the Games.

    Another number Fournier has firmly entrenched in his mind? Eighty million. As in dollars. Over four years.

    It is a number he is unlikely to get from the Celtics, as Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reported, especially taking into consideration some of Stevens' plans for the team. The head coach-turned-office exec "is also debating whether to extend the contracts of Marcus Smart and Robert Williams, while also positioning himself for a run at Bradley Beal in free agency next summer."

    Those lofty aspirations make the likelihood of investing that sort of money in Fournier highly unlikely.

    Fournier put up 13 points per game while averaging 29.5 minutes of play after arriving in Boston at the trade deadline. He also averaged 44.8 percent from the field and a career-best 46.3 percent from beyond the arc.

    A talented player excelling on the world stage, Fournier is certain to get paid. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer believes it could be in New York with the Knicks.

Tristan Thompson Traded to Sacramento in 3-Team Deal

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    The Celtics dealt Tristan Thompson to the Sacramento Kings, by way of the Atlanta Hawks, in return for guard Kris Dunn and center Bruno Fernando on Friday, as first reported by Wojnarowski.

    ESPN insider Bobby Marks broke down the deal, revealing the Celtics freed up approximately $3 million in luxury cap space with the move.

    Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston touted the positives of the deal, most significantly the depth at point guard it gives the Celtics.

    Boston.com's Tom Westerholm was less reserved with his thoughts about the deal, saying, "The Celtics will really miss Tristan's ability to hold [Joel] Embiid to 40 points on 14 shots" in reference to Thompson's struggles against the Philadelphia 76ers' MVP candidate.

    Thompson was not much of a threat to score with the ball in his hands in the 2020-21 season, averaging only 7.6 points on 24 minutes of play. He was a solid rebounder, averaging five on defense and 8.1 overall. He did bring championship experience to the team, though, something he will now impart on a young Kings squad.

    Dunn only played 11 minutes in four games this past season thanks to a knee injury that left him sidelined for three months.

    Fernando is a talented young player entering his third year in the league. While his floor time was limited this past season to 33 games and just under seven minutes per, he will have the opportunity to see an increased role in Boston after the team traded Thompson and Moses Brown.