Kris Dunn only appeared in four games with the Atlanta Hawks last season. Turns out his stint in Beantown may prove to be even shorter-lived, as the former No. 5 overall pick may never make it onto the hardwood as a member of the Boston Celtics.
Per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, “Kris Dunn would provide some backcourt depth for the Celtics but I’ve been hearing tonight that Boston could look to move him in a separate deal.”
Dunn, 27, was recently acquired alongside center Bruno Fernando and a 2023 second-round pick in a three-team trade with the Hawks and Sacramento Kings. In the deal, the Celtics said goodbye to starting big man Tristan Thompson, shipping him off to Sactown.
The trade allowed Boston to shave approximately $3 million off their books. However, it looks as if they’d like to free up a bit more wiggle room with free agency on the horizon.
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Celtics Point Guard Situation
While Dunn could serve as a nice depth piece and defensive presence for the Celtics, he’d in no way be handed the mantle at point guard. Currently, that role appears to be manned by veteran Marcus Smart, who has been penciled in as the starter following Kemba Walker’s exit from Boston. With that said, how long Smart holds on to that role is a whole other conversation.
Joining 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand Show back in June, new head coach Ime Udoka did deem the two-time All-Defensive First-Team selection a “foundational piece” for the franchise. Yet, Smart’s expiring contract continues to pose questions regarding how long he’ll truly serve as a pillar in the Celtics’ foundation.
Smart is eligible to ink a contract extension worth 120% of his 2021-22 salary, which would receive annual pay bumps of up to eight percent. The Celtics can offer the former No. 6 overall pick a three-year deal worth approximately $56 million, which The Athletic’s Jay King finds reasonable for all parties involved. However, there is always the possibility that Smart holds himself to a higher value.
“Smart could say he will only sign a four-year extension. He could decide to avoid an extension entirely in hopes of making more money as an unrestricted free agent one year from now,” King wrote. “If the Celtics fail to hammer out an extension with Smart this offseason, they could need to explore trading him before potentially losing him for nothing in free agency one year from now.
Celtics Snooping Around the Point Guard Market
With Smart’s long-term future in limbo, the Celtics are believed to make a run at a handful of point guards once teams are permitted to negotiate with free agents come Monday, August 2nd at 6 p.m. ET.
According to the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy, the Celtics have San Antonio Spurs sharpshooter Patty Mills on a list of “seven or eight” free agent targets. Mills, 32, has a long history with coach Udoka, playing under the former Spurs assistant for seven seasons.
In a potential bigger splash move, Boston is also expected to be in on the Lonzo Ball sweepstakes, via The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Ball’s market is believed to be significant and growing, which could push his value into the “$21-$22 million a year” range, per Charania.