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Celtics Owner Wyc Grousbeck Publicly Telling Brad Stevens To "Muscle Up And Let's Go Get The Job Done" Ahead Of The NBA Trade Deadline Is Music To My Ears

Brian Babineau. Getty Images.

At 36-15 and atop the Eastern Conference, the Celts find themselves in an interesting spot with the NBA Trade deadline just 10 days away. I don't want to say they are playing with house money, but it sort of feels that way. Sure there are areas of their roster I think most would agree they should upgrade/add depth, but if they don't, they're still left with one of the deepest and best rosters in the NBA.

In previous Celts seasons, the trade deadline was always a point of contention among Celts fans. People wanted Danny Ainge to unload picks and players no matter the cost. I'm sure you've heard about his obsession to hold onto draft picks or young talent instead of making a trade that was probably going to be a lateral improvement at best. Fast forward a few years and it looks as if maybe he knew what he was doing. 

The Brad took over and immediately said "fuck those picks" and and he started wheeling and dealing at the trade deadline. He was pulling off trades nobody even saw coming. We didn't hear shit about any sort of Derrick White interest or leak before it happened, and I imagine the same will be true this season. It's why I'm not putting any stock into all this Jakob Poeltl smoke that Shams keeps putting out. If we're hearing about it, you may as well ignore it.

But that does not mean the Celts won't be active within the next few weeks. A big part of that equation is having the commitment of ownership to do whatever you can to improve the team. If that means adding salary to increase your tax bill? So be it. If that means giving up a future asset to improve now? So be it. I think we have a pretty clear idea of what Wyc wants Brad to do if you listened to him before Saturday's Lakers game

The thing about this particular ownership group is that when they feel like they have a legit contender, they've been committed to spending whatever it costs. There are also times they've clearly sent the mandate to get under the luxury tax in seasons they probably didn't think the Celts would win, so we've seen both sides. Currently, the Celts are in the "legit contender" space so it doesn't surprise me one bit to hear Wyc talk like this

Now, it should be stated that the Celts don't have too many avenues to choose from when it comes to adding salary to this year's group. After the Juancho TPE expired, Brad is essentially working with this

plus some end of bench guys salary which isn't all that much. So as you can see, it's not like Wyc is telling Brad to go bring in a $20M a year player that would add this Warriors-esq tax bill to his plate. I think it's more likely we see something smaller with the Dennis TPE or the Gallo DPE buyout money once those start happening. It'd be hard to convince me that moving any of the top 10ish rotation players makes sense, but I guess it would depend on the actual package/return.

I hear those statements from Wyc and it's pretty clear to me what he's telling Brad. You have full clearance to do whatever you want, regardless of the cost, but don't do anything stupid. If there's no deal that makes sense, fine. If it's going to cost an extra future protected 1st or something to get the deal done, fine. The window is now so do what needs to be done to solidify the roster even more. Given the fact that Brad really hasn't made a poor roster decision since taking over this team, I feel confident that an empowered Brad will find something that works.

Does that mean the Celts will be open to paying a high price for a rental? Technically that would be "muscling up". If they can find a way to bring in someone like Poeltl where Gallo's money goes to a 3rd team, maybe this is ownership's way of telling us they don't care about a rental. I still think expecting a 3 team trade is a little far fetched, but there are plenty of names that maybe we see Brad overpay slightly for now that he has ownership's blessing.

While that stuff is impossible to predict with 10 days to go, the bigger part is ownership's commitment to winning and going all in. It doesn't appear to be 

"load up and go all in on this year….but within a budget because I don't want to pay a massive luxury tax bill"

That would be VERY frustrating to hear as a fan. And even though I'm willing to concede that maybe 25% of this is perhaps a little PR work by the team to protect themselves if no deal does get made, but as long as he eventually backs it up if there is a deal to be had, that's fine by me. Pander to me all you want right now, I'm not complaining.

For me, the positions of priority are still a big and a wing. You have Noah Vonleh's roster spot and I'm pretty sure Justin Jackson's as well (even though he's still on the roster). So, you have the space, you have the picks, you have the trade assets, and now you have ownership's blessing. To me, that seems like everything you need to find a way to make the best team currently in the NBA even better.

What will Brad do? Time will tell. Love and Trust.