Celtics Eyeing Reunion With Former Starter: Report

Celtics eyeing Daniel Theis trade

Getty Former Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens talking with Jayson Tatum #0, Javonte Green #43, Kemba Walker #8, Daniel Theis #27, and Semi Ojeleye #37.

If you’re late to the party, here’s a newsflash — the Boston Celtics are in the market for a big man. Despite heavily leaning on a double-big lineup for much of the season and acquiring Bol Bol in a three-team trade on January 19, Brad Stevens and company are actively seeking out frontcourt help. And by the looks of it, that search could potentially lead them down a path where they eventually reunite with a familiar face.

HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported on January 26 that the Celtics have made calls to the Houston Rockets inquiring about Daniel Theis and have done “some due diligence” on the 29-year-old big man.

Theis, who originally signed with the Cs in 2017 as an undrafted free agent, spent the better part of four seasons in Boston before being traded to the Chicago Bulls in a three-team trade last March.

Prior to the deal, Theis was enjoying a career campaign with the Celtics, averaging what was at the time a personal-best scoring output (9.5 points per game) on 55.2% shooting from the field and 34.7% from beyond the arc over a 42-game stretch (37 starts). Theis actually managed to up his scoring production in his move to the Windy City, averaging 10.0 points over 23 games as a member of the Bulls. He’s however since found himself on the outside looking in after a sign-and-trade shipped him to Houston in August. With the 14-win Rockets focused on giving their young core added playing time, Theis has been pushed out of the rotation.

Juan Hernangomez Trade Hurts Boston’s Chances of Landing Theis

Scotto also noted that the chances of Theis finding his way back to Boston have likely lessened following the Bol trade which shed Juancho Hernangomez’s contract and freed approximately $3 million in cap space. Per Scotto, Hernangomez “could’ve been used to facilitate a potential trade” with Houston.

Theis carries a guaranteed deal that runs through the 2023-24 season and pays about $8.7 million annually. That type of commitment could be counterintuitive for a Celtics franchise bullish in their desire to stay under the luxury tax. Theis’ ability to stretch the floor at times could prove beneficial for the NBA’s 10th-worst shooting team (34.3%) — namely within the frontcourt.

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Celtics Frontcourt Outlook

Robert Williams has yet to attempt a single 3-pointer all season long and likely has no plans to do so. Enes Kanter Freedom has been scarcely deployed in Ime Udoka’s rotation. While Al Horford is shooting just 28.7% from deep, which is the worst mark of his career since he began to take threes in 2015. He’s also a favorite to be moved at the deadline, per Scotto who piggybacked off a previous report from The Athletic’s Jared Weiss on January 19 which noted the Cs could look to flip Horford for another center.

“I’m also keeping an eye on what the Celtics do with Al Horford. It was reported the Celtics made him available, and I think that has a lot to do with their luxury tax crunch for next season,” wrote Scotto. “Their roster, as it currently stands with Horford, is projected to be right at next year’s tax. If they can get off Horford and his partial guarantee, it would give them enough flexibility to flesh out the rest of the roster.”


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