Joe Murray

Joe Murray

Joe Murray

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 01: Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers looks on during the first quarter in game one of the Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs at TD Garden on May 01, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The NBA trade deadline is rapidly approaching (February 8th) and the teams behind the Celtics in the Eastern conference are already starting to make moves. Yesterday there were two massive shakeups in the East and we got some more clarity on one of those moves earlier today. Pat Reilly and the Miami Heat made the first big move acquiring former Celtic Terry Rozier in a trade for Kyle Lowry and a draft pick. Bolstering a Miami team that the Celtics have had their struggles with in the past deepening their bench and adding another scorer who could create some issues for Boston.

Later in the day a more shocking move was made by the Milwaukee Bucks firing head coach Adrian Griffin. Milwaukee sits in second place in the East but apparently wasn’t happy with Griffin’s coaching style and how he was incorporating new superstar Damian Lillard. Rumors started swirling shortly after Griffin’s firing that the Bucks were targeting another former Celtic in former head coach Doc Rivers. Today that was confirmed with another Woj bomb saying the deal was done. So how do these two moves impact the Celtics and what does it mean for Boston heading into the trade deadline?

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)

First I want to take a look at Miami adding Terry Rozier, Celtics fans are very familiar with Rozier as he spent 2015-2019 with the team. Rozier is a volume scorer who isn’t afraid to shoot something Miami was in desperate need of. Rozier isn’t going to win any defensive awards but going to Miami he won’t be able to be just a passenger anymore.

Reilly and the Heat demand every player be bought in completely and part of the team something that could really elevate Rozier’s game on both ends. Miami did have to move on from veteran guard Kyle Lowry and a draft pick to facilitate the deal. However Lowry is on the back nine of his career and wasn’t going to help Miami get past Boston at this stage of his career.

Celtics perspective: From the Celtics perspective anytime a team in the East gets better it’s a negative for the Celtics. Especially when that team has given the Celtics fits in the past and that’s certainly the case for the Miami Heat. While there is no arguing that Miami got better with this move I still don’t think its enough to overtake the Celtics or instill any real fear in Celtics fans. The Celtics are still the best team in the East and if they struggle with Miami again it won’t be because they added Terry Rozier it will be because the Celtics stars aren’t playing up to par.

  • Philadelphia 76ers v Milwaukee Bucks

    MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 26: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 and Damian Lillard #0 of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrate against the Philadelphia 76ers in the second half at Fiserv Forum on October 26, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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 Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

    The bigger news for the Celtics and the Eastern conference in my opinion is the Bucks firing head coach Adrian Griffin and replacing him with former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. In what was a shock to most the Bucks decided to move on from their head coach while they sit at 30-13 and second place in the East. For diehard NBA fans they were aware that there was some issues in Milwaukee especially defensively and with how the team was using new super star Damian Lillard. 

    For me this is a bigger shake up in the East than Miami adding Rozier, now I’m not going to sit here and say Doc is an unbelievable coach and will help Milwaukee get back to the finals. However it can’t be denied that he is a much more experienced coach than Griffin and he has led a team full of superstars to a title before. Another thing to factor in is just the shake up of a locker room that’s sitting in second place already, they will be extra motivated as will Doc to prove that he isn’t just a regular season head coach these days.

    Doc has unfortunately become known for his many playoff exits with the 76ers after tremendous regular seasons. Now in Milwaukee with two bonafide superstars he has another chance to rewrite the narrative around his coaching career. This isn’t a move Milwaukee would make without the consent of Giannis and Lillard. Which leaves us wondering exactly what the issues were but we at least know the issues in Milwaukee were real. Now it’s on Doc’s shoulders to figure out how to change Milwaukee’s defense and run the offense more through Lillard.

    Celtics perspective: For the Celtics this season I believe Milwaukee is a much bigger threat than Miami because of their roster and it’s age. That’s why I believe this move has a more negative impact on the Celtics title odds than Rozier to Miami. I know Rozier is a player who actually helps the team on the court on a night to night basis but going from a coach with as little experience as Griffin (which is no fault of his own he wasn’t really given a fair shot) to an NBA champion head coach who has worked with numerous superstars in different cities is not something to be overlooked.

    The Celtics are still the favorites in the East and they should be in my opinion. I believe this is the Celtics year and the two biggest obstacles for them this season is their own late game execution, and the teams health heading into the postseason. Boston still has the most loaded roster in the league and although there are some questions surrounding the teams late game execution. I don’t think Doc Rivers and Terry Rozier are quite enough to knock them out of the top spot in the East.

    As the trade deadline nears there’s still many dominoes to fall in the East and we’ll have to reevaluate once all the pieces fall. For now two teams behind the Celtics closed the gap but I don’t think it’s enough to have serious concerns. I think Boston is still in the market to add too you can never be content when you’re trying to win the title and I’m sure Brad Stevens has been working in the shadows to execute another move for Boston to finally get back over the hump.

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