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Joe Murray

Joe Murray

Joe Murray

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 19: Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens looks on prior to Game Two of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena on May 19, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Boston Celtics have had a near perfect first half of their season. Sitting at 35-10, the Celtics are alone at the top of the Eastern Conference with a 4 game lead on the Milwaukee Bucks. With the trade deadline rapidly approaching (February 8th) and other teams around the Celtics starting to make moves to stay competitive,  it’s time to look around the league and see what the Celtics could make to bolster their roster. Boston has been such a dominant force in the first half that I don’t expect Brad Stevens to make any blockbuster moves like he did in the offseason, but I do expect him to do what he can to try and strengthen the Celtics depth.

Stevens has been one of the best GM’s in the league since taking over for Danny Ainge, but still hasn’t quite been able to get Boston back over the hump. This season seems to be by far Boston’s best chance to win another title and Stevens isn’t going to let this one slip away. He does have his hands tied a little bit with what he can do to add to an already stacked roster, with money being limited and playing time maybe even more limited. It’s going to have to be a very strategic addition that can be a key contributor off the bench and doesn’t mess with the team’s chemistry.

There was a belief going into the season that the Celtics could stand pat this season because of their offseason moves to add Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday. But now teams around the Celtics have started to make moves, with the Indiana Pacers adding Pascal Siakam to a young up and coming roster. The Knicks made a move with the Raptors as well, adding OG Anunoby while the Heat made a move this week for former Celtic Terry Rozier. With these moves already happening and more on the way, I’m sure Stevens is on the phone working behind the scenes to add to this Celtics team as others try to close the gap on them.

  • SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - OCTOBER 19: Kelly Olynyk #41 of the Utah Jazz looks on during a game against the Denver Nuggets at Vivint Arena on October 19, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

    SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – OCTOBER 19: Kelly Olynyk #41 of the Utah Jazz looks on during a game against the Denver Nuggets at Vivint Arena on October 19, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

    Possible big men trade targets:

    One angle the Celtics could take at the deadline is insurance for Al Horford and Kristaps Porzingis. With Horford on the back nine of his career and Porzingis’s injury history, this seems like a likely path Stevens could take. So let’s take a look at some of the names around the league Boston could be in on.

    Richaun Holmes: Holmes is a 6’9 power forward/center who’s a little bit lost in the shuffle in Dallas right now. Holmes isn’t going to blow you away with his stats, but he’s a solid big off the bench who could give Boston some much needed depth and Porzingis insurance. No player that Boston is going to target at the deadline is going to be remotely close to replicating Porzingis, but they can add some safety in case he does go down for a few games. Holmes could give them some solid minutes.

    Kelly Olynyk: Yes former Celtic Olynyk has been linked to the Celtics multiple times this season. This move would be a little harder for Stevens to pull off because of Olynyk’s contract, but Olynyk fits exactly what Stevens is usually looking for at the deadline. He’s a stretch big man that can space the floor and knock down the 3 when needed. Boston fans are very familiar with Olynyk, as he was drafted by the team in 2013. I don’t think Boston has the money to pull this one off but rumors have been swirling and Stevens has an ability to make moves seemingly out of thin air.

    Isaiah Stewart: This one is admittedly more of a dream than a realistic scenario, but Boston has been linked to Stewart for what feels like a few years now. Although the money makes it almost impossible to happen, Stevens has shown he’s not afraid to make surprising moves and this would certainly be one to get a defensive minded high energy center in Stewart.

     

  • May 14, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens looks on before game seven of the 2023 NBA playoffs between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens looks on before Game 7 of the 2023 Eastern Conference semifinals between the Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

    Potential Wing Targets:

    As the NBA continues to evolve more and more into position-less basketball versatile wings are becoming coveted assets at the deadline so let’s take a look at a couple names the Celtics could be in the mix on.

    Cedi Osman: Boston has already made quite a few moves with the Spurs over the last few seasons, so what’s one more. Osman is a 6’7″ forward scoring 8.3 points a game to go along with 2.4 rebounds. Osman is on the younger side for a lot of trade deadline targets at 28. He is a career 35.4 percent three-point shooter, something the Celtics are always looking for in Joe Mazzula’s offense. The money makes it a little tough for Boston to acquire Osman, but they could use the Grant Williams TPE and manipulate money elsewhere if they felt he was worth it.

    Naji Marshall: Marshall might be one of the more unknown names on the list but the 26 year old out of Xavier could be a perfect fit for a depth piece on the Celtics. Marshall is a 6’6 forward who can play the 2 or the 3 for the Celtics coming off the bench. He shoots it around 37% from 3 and scores 7 points a game. He’s not lighting the box score up, but this is the type of move I can see Boston making for some insurance on the wings.

     

  • Possible Guard Targets:

    Boston has in my opinion the best backcourt in the NBA with Derrick White, Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown, but when you’re trying to win a title you can never be complacent. Sam Hauser and Payton Pritchard have given Boston good minutes off the bench this season especially at home, but they still don’t have a true facilitator off the bench as Hauser and Pritchard are green light shooters that aren’t exactly looking to move the ball. If Boston is going to add a guard at the deadline I’d  like to see them add a true point guard with a little more size than Pritchard and potentially another spot-up shooter like Hauser.

    John Konchar: Admittedly Konchar isn’t really either of these things and he’s more of a 2-3 player than a 1-2 guard but he fits what the Celtics are looking for in a depth bench piece. Konchar isn’t going to blow anyone away with his shooting or athleticism but he’s a solid 6’5″ bench piece that Boston could get on the cheap if they feel the need for depth is that strong.

    Tyus Jones: Shoutout to my guy Kyle Irving on this one, who covers the NBA for the Sporting News, as he’s always been a big fan of Jones. Jones is a little redundant with Pritchard on the roster, coming in at 6’1″, but the former first round pick out of Duke is a true point guard who could be a great facilitator off the bench. Jones is on the Wizards now, a team in such disarray that you have to think is looking to sell at the deadline. If that’s the case, Boston could be in on Jones for not that much money.

    Boston is in a good as spot as any team in the league but when you’re a true title contender you can’t sit on your hands and I don’t expect Brad Stevens too. With Stevens recent track record the Celtics trade deadline acquisition could be someone no one is thinking of but I’m confident in a few of these names being moved at the deadline and Boston seems as good a place as any for them to wind up.

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