The Boston Celtics won three games in a row to regain the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference, but that doesn’t mean they won’t entertain a trade that will get them Orlando Magic big man Nikola Vucevic or Jerami Grant from the Detroit Pistons.
The Celtics (18-17) corrected the ship after they hit the skids in the second half of February. Brad Stevens’ crew is currently 5.5 games behind the Philadelphia 76ers (24-12), and trailing the Brooklyn Nets (24-13) and Milwaukee Bucks (21-14).
The Celtics hope that Marcus Smart can return to the lineup in the second half of the season. They struggled without Smart in the lineup. Without him, the Celtics relied on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as their primary offensive weapons. But on the odd nights they were shut down or had an off game, the Celtics were pressed to find a consistent third scorer.
Adding Vucevic or Grant would bolster the Celtics’ front line. They’ll need the size if they expect to contend with Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid for the Eastern Conference crown.
While the Atlantic Division is a coin flip between the Nets and the 76ers, the Celtics are a long shot to win the division at +3000 odds over at DraftKings.
The Celtics are the seventh-highest team on the futures board at +2500 odds to win the 2021 NBA Championship. The Celtics are also +1000 odds to win the Eastern Conference championship.
Big D Loves Grant
Grant turns 27-yeard old this month. He’s a former late second-round pick from the 2014 NBA Draft out of Syracuse. He signed a three-year deal worth $60 million with the Detroit Pistons in the offseason as a part of their rebuild.
Grant averages 23.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for a terrible Detroit Pistons squad. Just a couple of weeks ago, he scored a career-high 43 points against the Chicago Bulls.
The Pistons are the worst team in the Eastern Conference, and are in full-blown tank mode. The Pistons already traded Derrick Rose to the Knicks for a draft pick and Dennis Smith Jr. They won’t ignore a good offer for any of their top players, including Blake Griffin and Grant.
Grant averaged 12.0 points and 3.5 rebounds with the Denver Nuggets as a role player last season. This season, he’s become a go-to guy in crunch time. Grant is the favorite to win the NBA Most Improved Player, along with Julius Randle and Christian Wood. You can back Grant at -230 odds to win the Most Improved Player Award.
Vucevic Magic Coming to Beantown?
Vucevic, 30, made the All-Star team this season for the second time in his career. The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Vucevic out of USC with the #16 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He spent one season with the Sixers before being traded to the Orlando Magic. He’s spent the last nine seasons as the Magic’s starting center.
Vucevic is the best player on a Magic team that struggled with injuries to starters like Markelle Fultz and Aaron Gordon. He averages 24.6 points and 11.6 rebounds this season. His PER of 24.33 is ranked #12 in the league.
Just the other night, Vucevic missed a triple-double with 29 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists. He posted a season-high 43 points and hauled down 19 rebounds last month against the Chicago Bulls.
Vucevic knocks down 41.2% of his 3-point shots, which is one of the reasons why the Celtics like the big man with an outside touch.
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