NBA Trade Rumors: Tristan Thompson Could Be The Next Celtic To Go

Tristan Thompson in an NBA game.
Gettyimages | Sarah Stier
NBA Rumors

The Boston Celtics already made one blockbuster trade, and more players could be on the way out as the team works on an offseason retooling.

The Celtics this week shipped Kemba Walker along with a 2021 first-round pick and a 2025 second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a 2023 second-round pick. The move gave the Celtics some flexibility to re-sign stars like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, NBC Sports noted, but could also mean another Celtics big man is finding a new home.

Celtics Big Man Could Be Out

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The Walker trade brings an uncertain future for Tristan Thompson,  whose role seems in doubt with both Horford and Brown joining the Celtics. As the NBC Sports report noted, Thompson's days may be numbered, even if he isn't shipped out immediately.

"As for Tristan Thompson, the writing seems to be on the wall for his Celtics tenure with two big men entering the fold in Horford and Brown," the report noted. But Himmelsbach notes Brown is no shoo-in to be on the team this season, so the C's may at least entertain keeping Thompson on the final year of his deal at $9.7 million. They also could look to move him at the 2022 NBA trade deadline if no deal materializes this summer."

Celtics Could Look For Other Pieces

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As the report added, the Walker trade appears to be a prelude to more big moves to build a contending team around Tatum and Brown. The report suggested that Evan Fournier could be the option, though Boston could also explore the free-agent market this summer to snag another player. After an early playoff exit this year, the franchise is likely to make moves that would allow them to keep pace with the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, and other teams that have been in title contention.

Walker's Exit

Kemba Walker in an NBA game.
Gettyimages | Kevin C. Cox

Some reports have suggested that the blockbuster Walker trade was more about fixing locker room problems rather than fine-tuning the roster. The Athletic's Jared Weiss reported that there was dysfunction within Boston's locker room, centered around Walker and head coach Brad Stevens.

"According to multiple team sources, there was some dysfunction in the locker room, with the relationship between Stevens and Walker characterized as tension-filled," he wrote. "Sources also suggest that Stevens was also perceived to be harder on Walker than on other top players." 

Tough Road Ahead

Members of the Boston Celtics in an NBA game.
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Boston may not have much margin for error in its attempts to rapidly rebuild. The Milwaukee Bucks, after falling short for several seasons, appear to be firing on all cylinders behind two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and look to be a formidable foe in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers and Atlanta Hawks also appear to be on the way up, leaving the Celtics in need of some likely upgrades in order to keep pace and not waste the talents of Tatum.