The Boston Celtics sent center Tristan Thompson to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for guard Kris Dunn, center Bruno Fernando and a 2023 second round pick, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday.
Thompson, 30, averaged 7.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in 54 games for the Celtics last season, his first playing anywhere outside of Cleveland, where he spent the first nine years of his NBA career. But with the emergence of third-year center Robert Williams III, plus the return of center Al Horford as part of the Kemba Walker trade last month, there wasn’t a need for Thompson any longer in Boston.
There is one, however, in Atlanta — at least to begin the season — after Onyeka Okwongu underwent surgery last week to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Okwongu, who is coming off a rookie season that concluded with him playing very well in the postseason, is expected to be out until the middle of next season.
Thompson will now give the Hawks depth behind starter Clint Capela until Okwongu is ready to play again.
Dunn, 27, played just four games during the regular season as he dealt with multiple injury issues, and then saw a total of 33 minutes of action across five playoff games during Atlanta’s run to the East finals. He and Thompson are both on expiring contracts, with Thompson scheduled to make $9.7 million and Dunn just over $5 million.
If healthy, the former Providence College star could provide the Celtics some defense on the wing. Fernando, meanwhile, who will turn 23 next month, averaged 1.5 points across 33 games last year for Atlanta. He was the 34th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
The Celtics will shave about $3 million off their books heading into free agency thanks to this deal, giving them further flexibility below the luxury tax line as they explore the possibility of re-signing guard Evan Fournier among other potential moves.