The Celtics extended Josh Richardson before he ever played a game with Boston, betting he’d be a better trade asset come the deadline in the event he had a bounce-back season.
That plan has worked well for Boston, with the guard posting averages of 9.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Despite playing just 24.9 minutes per game, he’s shooting 44.4% from the field and 40% from 3-point range — his best clip in a season since 2018-19 when he was in Miami.
Now the Celtics have a lot more options, with fellow bench ballhandler Dennis Schröder attracting interest ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, among others. Both players are on cheap deals and exceeded expectations so far this season. But while Schröder is playing for Boston’s $5.9 million mid-level exception, he’s a rental.
Richardson gives the Celtics a little more leverage, it appears. Especially with how he’s played of late. And after the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly reached out to Boston about Richardson, a follow-up suggested conversations didn’t go very far.
“As far as Josh Richardson goes … the Celtics have been getting lots of calls, but nothing has gotten close. Boston doesn’t want to move Richardson in a deal that isn’t an upgrade this season and next season,” NBA reporter Keith Smith tweeted Tuesday.
“Lakers called, but conversation didn’t go very far, per a source.”
Richardson has benefited tremendously from coach Ime Udoka tightening the rotation, and in February alone, he’s averaged 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 1.0 blocks in his last three games — shooting 47.1% from 3-point range in that stretch while playing an increased 26.1 minutes per game.