Has everyone caught their breath yet? My head is still spinning in a way that only NBA trades can bring. Best league ever, not even a debate.
So now given the fact that three teams in the Eastern Conference just made big time moves, two of which are fellow contenders and one being in the Celts division, it's time to shift my brain to think about how this news impacts the Celts moving forward.
To be honest? It doesn't change all that much.
The Nets were going to be a problem even before this trade. The added star power of Harden brings a new dynamic, but the old version of BKN with all that depth was still going to be a big time challenge for the Celts as they try to make the Finals. Now there are reports that Kyrie might even sit out the entire year
so who the fuck knows what's going on in BKN. If he does sit out and that team is KD/Harden and that thin ass bench, that's certainly not at devastating as what it could be.
If anything, the biggest thing for the Celts to now be worried about is weirdly the Pacers. This is a team that's already shown this season they are actually pretty good and not an early season fluke. They are adding a legit offensive weapon in LeVert to the Brogdon/Warren/Sabonis/Turner core. That's pretty legit. This is a team that you're going to see the Celts battle for seeding all season long in my opinion.
With the Sixers, nothing changes. In fact, I think it actually hurts the Celts that the Sixers didn't make this move. You know what matters in the playoffs, especially for this Celtics team? How the Sixers could potentially defend them in a playoff series. We saw what they looked like defensively without Simmons last year. The Jays/Kemba ate whenever they wanted. It was a bloodbath. Tobias Harris and Danny Green aren't guarding shit. Did they have an answer for Embiid? Shit no. Nobody does when he's engaged. But subtracting Simmons' All NBA defense as an option to cover Tatum or make Kemba's life hell would have been nice. They'll still have their offensive issues with Simmons, but they are a tougher matchup as currently constructed as opposed to if they moved pieces for Harden. You'll never convince me otherwise.
We also can all take a collective sigh of relief that Danny Ainge feels the same way we all do about Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. They are untouchable. Doesn't matter who comes up, these two are here to stay. He could have swooped in and put Jaylen on the table and Harden is probably a Celtic right now. But at least it's nice to not have to worry about that bullshit anymore. They committed to the Jays and are going to see it through. So far, that looks like the right choice.
So while things are pure chaos right now, in terms of what it means for the Celtics, nothing has really changed. The Nets are still title contenders, the Pacers are still going to be competitive and a top 4 seed contender, the Sixers are the same old Sixers, and the Boston Celtics are still owners of the best record in the entire conference. Oh, and they've done it all without their All Star point guard. Oh, and Ainge still has his TPE available to add pieces at the deadline or the offseason based on what their need ends up being. That seems good.
Now let's just hope we actually get to see them play a game again. That would be nice.