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NBA trade deadline: Could Celtics be in the market for frontcourt help?

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As the deadline approaches, celtics You have good reason to be confident.They are NBA With a 35-14 record, they had the team’s best single-season winning percentage in over a decade. They own the league’s best net him rating of plus 5.9. According to Clean the Glass, they performed at an even higher level against opponents with top 10 net ratings, achieving his league-best 10-3 record against such opponents. , also smashed his 9.0 points per 100 possessions. Boston’s roster, which has plenty of useful players on both ends of the court, doesn’t necessarily need a lot of work.

Still, like any team, the Celtics have a lot to consider before the Feb. 9 deadline. Here are his three big issues shaping Brad Stevens’ behavior.

1. Do you have a suitable blockbuster deal?

The Celtics don’t need to make big trades. They have a talented group that meshes well on and off the court. early this season, Malcolm Brogdon He told a few teammates that he should be grateful for how small the locker room was. Stevens doesn’t miss the team’s chemistry. Boston spent years searching for effective compounds.

Still, if the right player becomes available at the right price, the Celtics could build a trade package that includes multiple first-round picks, but the team is unlikely to find a first-round pick in 2023 (there’s not one more). ) or the year 2024. First-round pick (per the Stepien rule, teams must manage at least one of his first-round picks every other year).

For such a large trade, the Celtics ideally want someone talented enough to slip into the final lineup and young enough to complement Jason Tatum When Jalen Brown for years. Difficulty there? To fit that description, you would need a player. For the most part, the final Celtics lineup included Tatum, Brown, Marcus Smart and the next two. Al Horford, Robert Williams, Derrick White and blogdon. Can the Celtics find someone to not only crack that lineup but move forward?

Will an athletic forward take Horford’s place behind Williams? Or a guard that acts as an upgrade to Smart, White, and Brogdon? A possibility, but that type of player is rarely available.

Think OG Anunoby type in this market. That particular target feels highly unlikely for several reasons.of raptors cherish him If they move him, they will reportedly demand huge rewards. We need to evaluate how useful Anunoby is, plus the additional cost of acquiring him.

Still, whenever Anunoby or someone else with his abilities is available, the Celtics will have to weigh the merits of the pursuit. doesn’t control every first-round pick, but Boston has enough future draft capital to participate in those types of conversations for certain influential players. I have.

This kind of deal doesn’t have to happen over the next few weeks. Probably not. The Celtics are happy with the roster they have. They are one of the favorites, if not the favorite, to win the franchise’s 18th championship. lakers Most in NBA history. The Celtics will have more flexibility in moving first-round picks once the offseason arrives and Stepien is no longer affected by his rule.


OG Anunoby of the Toronto Raptors. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today)

2. Could the Celtics get more frontcourt help?

The Celtics have been scanning the market for frontcourt options since early in the season, according to league sources who were given anonymity to speak freely, so another backup big man is on the way. are likely to obtain

Meanwhile, interim coach Joe Mazzurra was trying to think of a center rotation for the team without Robert Williams. traded at the salary dump) as the first big man off the bench.it took Luke Cornette It will take another week or so before it emerges as a regular option for the Celtics behind Williams and Horford.

Kornet is solid. The Celtics held opponents to just 105.8 points per 100 possessions while he was on the court. This is impressive defensive efficiency. It doesn’t necessarily have to target someone else at the location. If they’re perfectly healthy throughout the playoffs, next to Horford and Williams, minutes will be sparse and possibly even non-existent. Those people start together. Mazzulla can stagger play times in each game. Last season, the team’s third center, Daniel Theis, earned eight DNP-CDs during Boston’s playoff run, despite Williams’ injury problems at the time. It also added six playoff games under 10 minutes. Cornette played like he could handle that kind of load.

Still, the Celtics know Williams’ injury history and Horford’s age at 36. Boston’s backup his center would be the star of his run in the team’s playoffs if either had to miss at the wrong time. Theis started five playoff his games last season. The Celtics are more willing to play in smaller lineups now, but still know the importance of his third big man to them.that’s why Jacob PoeltlWho athleticShams Charania, recently reported as a Boston target, is likely to remain linked to the Celtics as the trade deadline approaches.

League sources outside Boston’s organization downplayed the possibility of Poeltl’s acquisition, spurs If dealing with him, an imminent free agency makes more sense where he would be better suited long-term. There doesn’t seem to be room to commit as a starter to a large long-term deal.

Even without adding a player like Poeltl, the Celtics front office may want to give Mazura another type of backup big man to use in playoff time. Cornette isn’t the most versatile defender despite all his strengths around the rim. Around the league Mason PlumleePJ Washington and Jashaun Tate may be available. Some of these players aren’t necessarily born centers, but they would help the Celtics play a different style than Cornette. By combining the contracts of Danilo Gallinari When Justin Jacksonthe Celtics could return $9 million worth of salaries in a deal without touching anyone in the current rotation. Peyton Pritchardhas attracted interest as a potential trade chip should the right target emerge.

Still, realistically, the Celtics aren’t going to give a backup big man much playing time in the playoffs anyway. It means either Williams or Horford didn’t get along.

3. Can the Celtics pursue wing depth?

If the Celtics have another need in the back end of their roster, it could be wing depth afterwards Sam HauserA difficult stretch over the past few months. The 6-foot-8 winger recently scored his two DNP-CDs for the first time in the season, and in December he scored 3 points from his range, 28.3% so far in January. He recorded 29.0%. He shot from deep in his 47.9% in his 22 appearances by December.

Still, the Celtics don’t necessarily need someone in Hauser’s place if they’re healthy during the postseason.White, Brogdon, Grant Williams In that case, it will likely absorb all the boundary bench minutes, possibly all the bench minutes completely. Even if the starter misses time, the Celtics can simply shorten the rotation to give that trio more time instead of adding someone else to the mix. If Boston wants to add help to the wings, Jalen McDaniels It might make sense, but the Celtics don’t have a lot of time for him, if any playoff time. As the deadline approaches, they are in an enviable position knowing they don’t need much.

(Jacob Poeltl top photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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