I’ve written here many times before about how big a Boston Celtics fan I am. I came of age with the Pierce, Garnett, and Allen team from 2008-2012. I saw the team struggle mightily before Allen and Garnett came to Boston, and for the year after that unit was dismantled. This season, everyone in Boston has had the pleasure of watching the Celtics become a high seed in the East. The team as constructed now stands as a testament to true team basketball. Its a unit of people who are not star talents, and all have limits and issues keeping them from being great. Isaiah Thomas is an All-Star, and a high volume scorer, but he’s also 5’9″, quite a small man in the land of giants that is the NBA now. Jared Sullinger is too rotund to be a big man in the NBA. Jae Crowder is too thin to hang in the league. Marcus Smart can’t shoot well enough to stay in the game. Tyler Zeller isn’t skilled enough to play.Avery Bradley is paper thin. All of these are critiques of players on the Celtics roster that I have heard and listened to. The only thing that no one has argued about is how outstanding a coach Brad Stevens is.
As good as the team is, they lack a true superstar to take them over the top and win a championship. No team in the NBA has ever won a championship without a superstar to head up the unit. As such, the Celtics are looking for that player to get them back into the winner’s circle. Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Love, and Al Horford are all names that have been floated and discussed as trade targets for the Celtics. With the NBA trade deadline approaching, Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge will try to live up to his moniker “Trader Dan” and get a player to bolster the depth and roster. But should he?
As necessary as a superstar is, perhaps even more important is outstanding chemistry. In order to be a fully functioning team, the players have to at least have a certain respect for each other. If the talent level is high but the team unity doesn’t exist at all, the players will lock horns and leave the team in shambles. See the Lakers following the Shaq/Kobe feud for evidence there.
The chemistry of the Celtics is a beautiful thing to watch. It is true team basketball in a way that is rarely seen today. Anyone on the roster can step in and contribute immediately, with good results to show for it. Evan Turner is coming off the bench and has hit numerous clutch shots, including in the last game before the All-Star break against the Clippers. Tyler Zeller can come off the bench and get a double double, like what he did against the Knicks in January. Everyone on this roster, with the exception of David Lee for some reason, has contributed greatly to the team and is happy to be a part of Boston.
So is it imperative for the Celtics to make a trade? Well, not really. Sure, getting a talented player would make them a bonafide contender for a championship. But it isn’t impossible to see this team making a run as currently constructed, and then improve through free agency and the draft, especially with a high draft pick coming this year from the Brooklyn Nets. Al Horford is likely not going to be traded by Atlanta this season because their asking price has been too high. No one in Boston wants Dwight Howard in a Celtics jersey, and opinion is still torn on DeMarcus Cousins. There doesn’t appear to be a big trade to be made that’s a clear positive move for the Celtics, and in those scenarios, the best thing to do is to hold your cards and not be rash. Also, meddling with the outstanding chemistry of a good team seems to be problematic.
If the Celtics do make a trade before the 18th (tomorrow) at 3pm, I won’t be surprised. But I’m not rooting for them to make just any trade.