Boston Celtics guard Jaden Springer didn’t know what to expect from this season’s NBA trade deadline, but the subsequent outcome wasn’t it.

Springer, formerly of the Philadelphia 76ers, was in the process of working toward finding his way into head coach Nick Nurse’s reserve rotation. Through encouraging defensive matchup battles with the Stephen Curry’s and Luka Doncic’s of the league, Springer was on that very path. That was until Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens picked up the phone and gave Philadephia a call.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” Springer said, according to Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “But I (didn’t) really think about it too much. It happened, and I was OK with moving on to the next thing. I’m here (in Boston) now, and that’s what I’m really focused on.”

The Sixers drafted Springer in the first round (28th overall) of the 2021 NBA Draft, but Philadelphia’s depth chart wasn’t working in favor of the 21-year-old. Springer, this season, played behind Tyrese Maxey, De’Anthony Melton and Ricky Council IV, logging just 11.8 minutes through 32 games.

Story continues below advertisement

That didn’t open the door for Springer to grow and considering Philadelphia’s win-now position, there wasn’t enough space to create that opportunity. In the aftermath of the deadline, the Sixers added guard Buddy Hield and Kyle Lowry as sustaining hopeful moves to keep Philadelphia competitive until franchise star Joel Embiid is back and healthy.

Now with Boston, Springer still finds himself in a similar spot, playing behind Derrick White, Jrue Holiday, and Payton Pritchard. However, head coach Joe Mazzulla envisions the Tennessee product pitching in.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

“I think that if you can get specialist guys that have shown that they can have one skill, do it really, really well, that’s an asset, also while trying to get him better for the long term,” Mazzulla told reporters ahead of Boston’s victory over the Washington Wizards earlier this month, per CLNS Media. “(I’ve) definitely seen moments of his individual defense and his ability to change a game like that so it’s definitely something we can have on our roster.”

Mazzulla has emphasized utilizing as many strengths possible as Boston’s roster offers, which could prove to work in Springer’s favor down the line.

Story continues below advertisement

Springer faced off against his former team for the first time since the swap in Tuesday night’s 117-99 Celtics win — Boston’s ninth straight. With the way the Eastern Conference is unfolding, Springer could cross paths with Philadelphia, once more, in the playoffs and get a feel for Boston’s end of the Celtics-Sixers rivalry.

Featured image via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images