When you run basketball operations for a team you always have to have a bunch of back-up plans. You can want to trade for Damian Lillard and/or Bradley Beal, but they first have to be made available and then you have to meet the other team's asking price. Trading Jaylen Brown for Beal for example doesn't get you that 3rd star. It simply replaces one younger All-Star on a team friendly contract for another older All-Star about to sign a massive deal. The extra salary actually makes it harder for you to add to your team.
You may want to re-sign Evan Fournier, but what if his price tag becomes ridiculous if he has a great Olympics? So enter one back-up plan for the Celtics, Josh Richardson. He's 27, but his career seems to be stagnating the past two seasons with Philadelphia and Dallas respectively.
And it’s only because he's had two straight subpar years that he could be available. It's like Ben Simmons. If Simmons hit his free throws and had a solid playoffs he'd never be available. That's always the rub. According to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, Josh Richardson could be easily had.
Dallas has actively explored trade scenarios involving Josh Richardson, sources said, in the event the swingman opts in to his 2021-22 player option. The Mavericks must make their own efforts to clear salary space for a planned spurge in free agency that still appears to prioritize retaining Tim Hardaway Jr. in addition to Dallas' other pursuits.
Richardson who looked like a great young prospect in Miami, struggled in Philadelphia. Similar to Al Horford that issue was very team specific. Horford didn't fit on a team with a dominant post center and point guard that didn't have 3 point range. Richardson was yet another player who didn't fit that line-up. That's why Philly traded Richardson for Seth Curry. If Simmons is your point guard and your other star is a post center, the rest of your line-up has to be outside shooters.
Richardson didn't revive his career in Dallas though. When Richardson shined most for Miami was when he had to play the point when Dragic was out injured rather often for a couple years. In Philly, Simmons was the ball dominant point guard. In Dallas is was superstar Luka Doncic. And when it wasn't Luka, Jalen Brunson was next in line.
Boston similar to Richardson' old Miami days sans Dragic, doesn't currently have a ball dominant point guard. Neither of their stars Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown run the show. Richardson's strengths would be better utilized playing with the Jays than they were in Philly and Dallas where a spot up shooter was called for.
And you wouldn't even need to start Richardson at the point if you didn't want to. Boston already has a great shooting point guard in Payton Pritchard that can play off the ball. In Boston Richardson could go back to his driving, finishing, and dishing days.
Richardson has a player option for $11.6 million. There are multiple ways to put him in Celtics green. Since the Mavs are just looking to dump salary here, don't worry about what if any assets Boston would need to part with. The Celtics still have $11 million left of their Gordon Hayward trade exception. If Richardson ws making 700k less this would be much simpler. Not sure if there is wiggle room in this situation or not. Feel free to leave a comment if you know the answer.
But Boston could always trade some small contracts to match Richardson's deal and add Jabari Parker's attractive non-guaranteed deal. That way regardless the Mavs would add some cap space.
And if Richardson opts out, due to his poor fits in Philly and Dallas and thus his stagnated stats the past two seasons, he'd be the type of player Boston could afford. Again he's not the fireworks, blockbuster addition the Celtics are clamoring for, but Boston asset chest outside of the Jay's has become rather bare. Boston doesn't have the draft capital to throw around in trades. Thus adding a guy who used to be rather good, and played his best as a young playmaker on the Heat makes sense.