NBA trade rumor season is usually one of the most active times of the year for this blog. Both in terms of creating content and traffic numbers (which I know in the aggregate but don’t focus on every day). But this year has been a bit different because the team isn’t broken and there’s not a lot of motivation to fix it. Which is boring. Which is wonderful. So I guess what I’ll do is look around at the rest of the league.
There are a ton of talented teams with eyes on winning a championship this year. So far this season there haven’t been a ton of highly impactful injuries (knocking furiously on wood) and unfortunately for the Grizzlies, most of them have happened in Memphis. So there’s a strong field of contenders that the Celtics will have to deal with in the Spring. I already shared quick thoughts on each of them, so I’ll focus more on recent events and rumors.
Everyone has a firmly entrenched opinion on Doc. I have no real desire to change that opinion. It seems to be a kind of a glass half full or glass half empty sort of discussion. Some will point to his title in Boston and his overall strong record with the teams he’s coached (aside from the early tanking years in Boston). Others will point to the talent that he’s had and the way his teams have fallen short in the playoffs for the most part.
Here’s my random observation. Doc might be the Ted Lasso of the NBA. Which is weird because he is an NBA lifer, not a guy from a different country that knows nothing about the sport (write your own jokes you half-empty folks). The reason I compare him to Ted Lasso is because he has a knack for getting people to like him and buy in to what he’s saying. That’s a lot harder than it sounds (ask Adrian Griffin). I think to succeed Doc will need a very strong staff around him (he’s had some great strategic minds around him in the past including Thibbs, Ty Lue, and Udoka). But something tells me that he’s at least going to get buy-in from Giannis and Dame. Which makes the Bucks a contender to take seriously.
I’m not going to overreact to the trades that have already happened, but so far it seems like GMs are making very wise moves. New York getting OG Anunoby is perfect for them. Indy getting Pascal Siakam feels like a win, too. Now Miami is adding Terry Rozier and dare I say that makes them ...scary.
Granted, all those teams had to make moves because they had holes and shortcomings that had to be fixed. It will take time to see how each of those ingredients will mix together and how they’ll perform in the playoffs. I just think it is notable that each of those teams got better on paper.
I don’t think the league is anywhere near done dealing either. The Sixers seem to be poised to make a move to add a wing and/or scorer. I could see the Bucks making further moves. A number of teams out West could make moves to shoulder into the contender discussion (OKC for one).
And there are good players either available or potentially available for the right price. Guys like Bruce Brown, Kyle Kuzma, Malcolm Brogdon, and just about anyone on the Bulls and Hawks. Generally speaking there’s more buzz than real news this time of year, but I don’t think this deadline is going to be quiet.
Ultimately I hope it won’t matter because the Celtics still have half a year to keep refining their attack and preparing for the postseason. Hopefully that continuity will be an advantage. But it won’t stop me from monitoring the buy-out market for bargain guys.