Among the hottest names tied to the Boston Celtics well ahead of the 2022 NBA trade deadline has been San Antonio Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl. Bracketing the question of whether the Celtics even need to make such a big trade given how well they have been playing (a very fair position), could the Celtics get a frontcourt upgrade to help ease the burden on starting center Robert Williams III’s oft-injured legs, or 36-year-old veteran big man Al Horford some rest to preserve his best for the postseason?
According to Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz, such a move could potentially be had, though Boston would need to wait until Dec. 15 for it to be allowed by the CBA.
The player in question? Oklahoma City veteran big Mike Muscala.
Swartz sees the Celtics swapping the 2023 Portland Trail Blazers second-round pick for Muscala and taking nothing back.
This would require waiving a player who might also be included in the trade, perhaps Justin Jackson or Noah Vonleh — but also increase Oklahoma City’s ask to help Boston keep their tax bill down.
“The … Celtics don’t have many weaknesses, although adding a veteran big man who can space the floor and give the team minutes at power forward and center would be welcomed,” suggests Swartz.
“Muscala has made 38.9% of his 3s over the past three seasons and posted a swing rating of plus-11.3 over that time. Boston wouldn’t even need to send any salary back, as Muscala’s $3.5 million contract could be absorbed into $6.9 million or $5.8 million trade exceptions owned by the Celtics.”
“OKC picks up another draft selection and creates a new trade exception with this deal,” adds the B/R analyst.
Muscala’s skillset as a capable shooter and passer would be a good fit in the sort of depth big role Boston might want to have, able to fill in for Horford or Williams III for extended minutes in a pinch.
And while he has size at 6-foot-10, he’s not much of a defender anymore, though in the style of play favored by the Celtics this season, that might not be such a big issue.
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