Celtics Add Frontcourt Depth with Acquisition of Hernangomez
The Boston Celtics added depth to their frontcourt Wednesday morning, acquiring 6-foot-9 power forward Juancho Hernangomez in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for guards Kris Dunn, Carsen Edwards, and the right to swap second-round picks in 2026.
The latest Brad Stevens move should help to smoothen out Boston’s depth chart in several ways, as it fills a need in the stretch-big department with Hernangomez, reduces a crowded backcourt after multiple offseason guard acquisitions, and brings its NBA roster down to the 15-player maximum just two weeks before the start of training camp.
It also adds a solid bench player who happens to be coming off the best season of his five-year career. Last season in Minnesota, Hernangomez averaged a career-best 7.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, while playing 17.3 minutes per contest.
A good chunk of Hernangomez’s scoring comes from beyond the 3-point arc, where the 25-year-old has posted a career shooting percentage of 35.1 percent, a solid mark for a player of his position. He only shot 32.7 percent from deep last season, but playing in an offense that includes a pair of elite playmakers in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum should be a mutually beneficial experience for all involved parties.
Hernangomez fits the mold as someone who should coexist well alongside Boston’s two stars, as he is a versatile floor spacer. He’s someone who needs to be accounted for on the perimeter and therefore is someone who can open better opportunities for his teammates.
Outside of the NBA, Hernangomez has had significant success on the international stage. Two summers ago, he helped to lead Spain to a FIBA World Cup gold medal, finishing as the team’s third-leading scorer behind Ricky Rubio and Marc Gasol. International play has also allowed Hernangomez the opportunity to play alongside his older brother, Willy, a center for the New Orleans Pelicans.
However, Hernangomez was dealt a bad hand this past summer leading up to the Tokyo Olympics, as he dislocated his left shoulder during a July 8 exhibition game against France. The injury sidelined him for the entire Olympic Games.
It’s also been a whirlwind of a past month for Hernangomez, who has now been traded twice since Aug. 25. He was initially dealt from Minnesota to Memphis in a trade that sent veteran guard Patrick Beverly to the Timberwolves. Exactly three weeks later, Hernangomez finds himself on the move again, as he prepares to ship up to Boston.
Fortunately, the Celtics land Hernangomez while he is in the midst an upward trajectory. He has seen his scoring climb in each of the past three seasons and, at age 25, he has yet to reach his prime.
Ultimately, this was a trade opportunity that made all too much sense for Stevens to take advantage of, as it checks off numerous boxes for the Celtics. It strengthens their frontcourt depth, eases their backcourt logjam, brings their roster down to 15 players, and gives the Jays another teammate who fits their mold from a stylistic standpoint.