The Boston Celtics are projected to face a much tougher opponent when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2022-23 season. After coming just short of making the 2022 playoffs, the Cavaliers made a blockbuster trade when they acquired three-time all-star guard Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz. After completing the Cavaliers completed that deal, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report proposed another trade involving a former Celtic that could potentially make the Cavaliers even better.
Swartz proposed a trade in which the Cavaliers would acquire Josh Richardson from the San Antonio Spurs. Richardson played briefly for the Celtics during the 2021-22 season before being shipped off to the Spurs at the 2022 Trade Deadline for Derrick White.
The full outline of Swartz’s proposed trade includes the following:
Cavaliers receive: Richardson
Spurs receive: Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, 2025 Second-Round Pick
Why the Cavaliers Make the Trade
Swartz makes the case that Richardson’s skillset fits the Cavaliers’ starting five better than their other wings on the roster.
“The Cavaliers’ focus now should shift to the wing, as both Caris LeVert and Isaac Okoro aren’t perfect fits as a starting small forward.
“Richardson is a strong blend of outside shooting and defense, as he connected on 41.5 percent of three-pointers last season and can cover multiple positions with his 6’5″, 200-pound frame. The 28-year-old wing would be a good connecting piece between the stars in Cleveland’s lineup, spacing the floor but not dominating the ball.”
During the 2021-22 season, Richardson averaged 10.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from three, according to Basketball-Reference. His three-point percentage was the highest he had put up in his career since his rookie year with the Miami Heat.
After the Spurs traded their lone all-star Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks for Danilo Gallinari – who they then waived – and three first-round picks, they signaled that they are now rebuilding as a franchise. That would make the almost 29-year-old Richardson not currently fit their timeline.
By acquiring Mitchell from the Jazz, the Cavaliers have signaled that they intend to win now, so getting someone like Richardson could potentially help them accomplish their goals.
Richardson’s Time With the Celtics
Richardson was acquired by the Celtics from the Dallas Mavericks during the 2021 offseason with what was left of the Gordon Hayward trade exception. The Celtics agreed to a one-year extension with Richardson on August 23, 2021, that would pay him $24 million over the next two years.
Before being traded to the Spurs, Richardson played 44 games for the Celtics, where he averaged 9.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 0.8 steals a game while shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from three.
Richardson had a few standout games with the Celtics, including a 27-point performance – fueled by Richardson making five three-pointers – that played a role in helping the Celtics beat the New York Knicks 114-107 on December 18, 2021.
When Richardson’s two former teams, the Celtics and the Heat, matched up in the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, he admitted that he had no preference on who would win and just wished his friends and former teammates the best.