Celtics Finalize 3-Team Trade, Add Newly-Acquired Big to Summer League

Celtics add Bruno Fernando to the summer league

Getty New Celtics big man Bruno Fernando.

Thankfully Dennis Schroder found his way to Boston via the $5.9 million exception, because the chatter of him possibly arriving as part of a record-setting eight-team trade had since been taken off the table. The Celtics have officially finalized their three-team trade that shipped 10-year veteran center Tristan Thompson to the Sacramento Kings. To help complete the trade, the Kings shipped guard Delon Wright to the Atlanta Hawks.

As for the Celtics, they inherited the services of guard Kris Dunn — a former top-five pick — and big man Bruno Fernando from Atlanta, as well as a 2023 second-round draft pick. While rumblings of Dunn’s stay in Beantown potentially being abbreviated have already begun to circulate, the Celtics have opted to take a closer look at their other new addition in the deal before making any rash decisions.

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Fernando Heads to Las Vegas

The team has announced that Fernando will join the Celtics in Sin City, as he’s been added to their Summer League squad for the remainder of the schedule. We’ll get our first glimpse of the Angolan big donning Celtics green on Tuesday against the Nuggets. Fernando accompanies fellow centers Zach Auguste and Aric Holman on the roster.

Fernando spent the past two seasons as a reserve frontcourt option for the Hawks. The soon-to-be 23-year-old endured a dip in on-court time this past season, essentially seeing his minutes per game sliced in half from 12.7 minutes per game as a rookie, to 6.8 in 2020-21. The No. 34 overall selection in the 2019 NBA draft, Fernando has averaged 3.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in 89 career games.

Fernando is No Lock to Make Boston’s Roster

While theoretically, the three-team trade saw one big leave Boston, and another big enter, you’d be hard-pressed to believe that Fernando would inherit the role left behind by Thompson. While the latter left much to be desired during his lone season with the Celtics, the former NBA Champion still started 43 games and brought in 3.4 offensive boards per game — fifth-most in the NBA.

However, the Celtics had already seemingly filled Thompson’s role, both with the re-acquisition of veteran Al Horford, and the already-present Robert Williams III, who following a highly-promising second-pro campaign is likely headed for a major boost in usage. Add in the recently signed Enes Kanter, and head coach Ime Udoka has a slew of big men at his disposal — all of whom are a bit unique.

Then again, as Brian Robb of Mass Live highlighted, the injury history of both Horford and Williams could lend its hand to the Celtics keeping a fourth big on the roster as a precautionary measure.

“Fernando is in the final year of a three-year contract, earning $1.7 million in guaranteed money this season but would also be somewhat buried on Boston’s center depth chart behind Al Horford, Robert Williams and Enes Kanter,” Robb wrote. “Given the durability issues that Horford and R. Williams has dealt with in recent seasons, it is possible that Fernando could see opportunities periodically.”


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