The NBA trade deadline is just two days away and the Boston Celtics hold the league’s best record at 38-12. Typically there isn’t a ton of trade intrigue surrounding teams that are playing at this level, but the Cs have been included in rumors — albeit small ones — for a while.
On Tuesday morning, The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach shared a tidbit of new information surrounding Boston’s plans for the deadline. He revealed that it would be pretty surprising if they completely stood pat, as a “minor move” is expected.
“Just like every other year, Celtics executives are continuing to make calls and look for ways to upgrade prior to Thursday’s trade deadline,” Himmelsbach wrote Tuesday. “One league source said it would be a surprise if the Celtics do not complete a minor move, but it most likely would be to add a player as insurance in case of future injuries rather than to alter the current rotation.”
This sort of thing shouldn’t come as a shock. Again, Boston has been the best team in the league this season, despite their third-leading scorer, Kristaps Porzingis, missing 14 games. The Celtics have been cautious with Porzingis, as well as 37-year-old big man Al Horford. The two have had their fair share of rest through the first half of the 2023-24 campaign.
In the case that either of them has to miss time when the playoffs roll around, it doesn’t feel like the worst idea to have a backup plan.
My good friend Jack Simone recently outlined many of Celtics fans’ favorite potential candidates for the team’s final roster spot.
The likes of Andre Drummond, Nick Richards, and Xavier Tillman could all serve as cheap alternatives to the rotation bigs that Boston already has.
Luke Kornet has had himself a pretty reliable season so far, even stepping up in the few opportunities he’s had as a starter. He’s still got some holes in his game, specifically when it comes to being able to switch defensively.
As for Neemias Queta, he’s proved to be an exciting spark off the bench in his first campaign with the Cs. His presence on the offensive glass has been spectacular and he’s shown some great athleticism to help him pull off some highlight plays. However, Queta hasn’t yet displayed the discipline needed to defend at a high level in the postseason and lacks touch around the basket when he’s not throwing down super-cool dunks.
Personally, I think it’s tough to get too excited about any of the abovementioned candidates, as they’re available for a reason. Drummond doesn’t particularly thrive on either end of the floor but is a dominant presence on the glass, Tillman has struggled to put the ball in the basket this season, shooting just 40.8% from the field, and Richards has been solid for the Charlotte Hornets but if they’re willing to trade him it can’t be the best sign — they’d take all the help that they could get at this point.
He’s certainly my favorite of the bunch, though. Richards has shot roughly 68% from the field to net 9.5 points per game. He’s also shown a serious ability to grab boards, ripping down 7.9 per game. Again, the Hornets need all of the talent that they can get, so it’s tough to fathom that they’d let him go.