Should Celtics make a deadline trade? Eddie House offers a warning originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics have between now and Feb. 9 to decide whether they should make a deal ahead of the NBA trade deadline, and there are compelling arguments on both sides.
There’s an argument that the Celtics could use an extra wing or big man to bolster their depth. Sam Hauser’s production has dropped dramatically over the past month, so the C’s could benefit from a veteran wing who can help ease the burden on young superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
You could also make the case for adding a backup big man as insurance for Robert Williams, who exited Saturday’s game against the Toronto Raptors after re-aggravating the knee he had two surgeries on last year.
Then again, the C’s boast the NBA’s best record at 35-12, and if it ain’t broke, why try to fix it? That was the argument Eddie House made Monday on a new Celtics Talk podcast with Chris Forsberg and Tom Giles.
Celtics Talk: Do the Celtics need to make a trade? Pondering Brad Stevens’ deadline conundrum | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube
House, who won a championship with the Celtics in 2008, said president of basketball operations Brad Stevens should be wary of disrupting what looks like some very strong chemistry in Boston’s locker room.
“I’m not sure if I want to shake anything up because I know how fragile camaraderie is,” House said on the podcast. “When you have a team that has jelled and is moving in the right direction — it finally seems like everything is coming together, right? Offensively, defensively, guys coming off the bench, guys who haven’t been playing a lot coming in — and those are the guys that people are saying should be on the trade block, right? I don’t know if you want to fracture that.
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. And at the same time, if you do go get somebody that you feel can replace somebody else, how does that interact with the locker room?”
The Celtics reportedly have shown interest in Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl, who’s averaging 12.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game for San Antonio. In theory, Boston could acquire him by trading the injured Danilo Gallinari and backup point guard Payton Pritchard. But even though Pritchard hasn’t seen much playing time this season, House would be hesitant to trade the scrappy point guard based on how he helps the team behind the scenes.
Forsberg: On Jakob Poeltl and the Celtics’ trade deadline dilemma
“I kind of like what we have going on. I love the chemistry with the team,” House said. “I feel like everybody messes with everybody and that goes a long way. When you fracture that, there’s somebody in there that feels a certain way behind that, and that can change everything.
“It can change the practice momentum. They don’t practice that much right now in the NBA. So when you do have practices, those are extremely important. So when you have a guy like Payton Pritchard who, everybody keeps bringing up his name, right? He’s going 100 (percent) every single practice because that’s his game. He’s sharpening you, he’s making you better. Now you trade him away for somebody who’s not going to give you that same effort that’s not making them better.”
There are merits to making a deal if the right player becomes available. The Celtics made themselves much better at last year’s deadline by acquiring Derrick White, who has fit seamlessly on the court and in the locker room. But House believes this current group has something special going on, and that Stevens should only make a trade for the perfect target.
“I think that you’ve got to be careful when you start thinking about those things, especially where we’re at,” House added. “If we were mid-pack and thinking, ‘Damn we should be better than this,’ then yeah.
“… But when you have it rocking and rolling, I think you’ve got to err on the side of caution and be careful with what you do and how you move, because the move that you might think is right could be the wrong move. It could be disastrous for a season.”
To hear more from House, Forsberg and Giles about the Celtics’ trade deadline dilemma, subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast or watch on YouTube below.