The last two weeks have made this one of the most exciting NBA trade deadlines in recent years for Celtics Nation. Winners of their last 6, the Celtics now sit in 7th in the Eastern Conference, only 4.5 games out of 1st. And what makes this trade deadline a bit more enticing is that there are no clear favorites to win the East, as only 1 game separates the top 4 teams (Heat, Bucks, Bulls and Cavs).
Prior to the Celtics current 6 game winning streak, the C’s had not been able to string more than 3 wins together all season. What has been the formula to the team’s recent success? Simply put, the team’s health. Many thought that from a personnel standpoint, this was the most talented Celtics team in recent years … and now with all pieces available to first year Head Coach Ime Udoka, it seems as though that is finally playing out to be true.
Nevertheless, the team suffered lots of criticism in the early part of the season, with many calling to break up the Tatum-Brown duo, which currently ranks as the 2nd highest scoring pair in the League.
What makes this deadline even more interesting is the fact that it is Brad Stevens first as the Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations, a role formerly occupied by Danny Ainge.
So given all this recent excitement, what are the main things Celtics fans should keep an eye on during the eve of the NBA trade deadline?
- Terrence Ross (SG/SF, Orland Magic): The 31 year old shooter from Orlando is averaging 10.9 pts this year in a reserve role for the Magic. The C’s would likely need to give up Schroder and either Langford or Nesmith to make this work. He was one of the proven shooters available at the deadline.
- Dante DiVincenzo (PG, Milwaukee Bucks): This has been one of the more rumored deals, where the Celtics would make a Schroder-DiVincenzo swap. The issue with this has been the Bucks have been rumored to want to include Grant Williams in this, which many believe to be a non-starter for the Celtics. While DiVincenzo is having a down year from the field, he has proven to be an effective two -way player pre ankle injury.
- Malcom Brogdon (PG, Indiana Pacers): After Indiana acquired Tyrese Haliburton from the Kings on Tuesday, it became apparent that Brogdon may be a moveable piece for them. Brogdon is averaging 19 ppg, 6 apg, and 5 rbg and would be an undeniable upgrade at the PG position compared to Marcus Smart. To get Brogdon, many believe the C’s could still keep Smart, but instead give up Richardson, Schroder and one of their 2019-20 1st round draft choices.
- John Collins (PF, Atlanta Hawks): The 6’9’’, 24 year old PF is on the same “timeline” as Tatum and Brown and could give the C’s a true big 3 (similar to the Garnet, Pierce, Allen grouping that won them a title). This offseason the Hawks signed Collins to a 5 yr, $125 mil contract, however after the Hawks have gone 26-28, reports have surfaced about Collins being disgruntled. To get him, the C’s would likely need to give up Horford, Smart and potentially one other piece.
Best Case Scenario: I think most of Celtics Nation would agree that the untouchable pieces are Tatum, Brown and Robert Williams. If there was some way to land Brogdon and Collins, the C’s would have a starting 5 of Brogdon, Brown, Tatum, Collins and Williams, with an average starting age of 25. While you would deplete your bench a bit in achieving that, you’d probably still be able to maintain a 2nd unit that would include Pritchard (who many believe is a more than competent backup PG), Enes Freedom, and probably either Nesmith or Grant Williams. Leaving the C’s probably needing to sign one more capable bench piece. That starting 5 would easily be the best positioned group in the Eastern Conference over the next several years.
Other notable things to keep an eye on around the league tomorrow include whether James Harden is moved out of Brooklyn, what Philadelphia decides to do with Ben Simmons, and how far will the Trail Blazers fire-sale go.
Of course, more times than not, the Trade Deadline disappoints and rarely lives up to the hype. But as fans, we naturally love to dream … only time will tell what type of stamp Brad Stevens puts on his first NBA trade deadline.