The first Sunday of October was a weird day for Boston sports fans. The New England Patriots got throttled by the Dallas Cowboys to fall to 1-3 on the season. The Boston Red Sox ended their disappointing 2023 campaign with a resounding victory shortly after the tragic passing of legendary knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. But for the Boston Celtics, the day was one of jubilation thanks to a massive trade for Jrue Holiday.

Holiday, who found himself on the Portland Trail Blazers as part of the Milwaukee Bucks massive move for Damian Lillard, was obviously going to be dealt off of a rebuilding squad ahead of the season. That happened on Sunday morning, as Holiday was shipped to Boston in exchange for Robert Williams III, Malcolm Brogdon, a 2024 first-round pick from the Golden State Warriors, and an unprotected 2029 first-round pick.

After the Bucks picked up Lillard, this is a massive move from the C's that shows the arms race between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference is alive and well. Just a few days after the Bucks supposedly became the team to beat in the NBA, the Celtics took that title away from them by swinging a deal for the guy the Bucks gave up to land Lillard.

The Celtics are once again the team to beat in the NBA after adding Jrue Holiday

Immediately after the Lillard trade went through, teams across the league called Portland about Holiday. A talented two-way guard who can do just about everything on the court, Holiday quickly became the most popular trade target in the league. Many Celtics fans (myself included) were immediately enamored by the possibility of adding Holiday to the roster.

Of course, wanting a big trade like this to happen and actually needing it or having it happen are two completely different things. But the Celtics front office continues to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to their commitment to win a title with their current core led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. It's quite a refreshing perspective for Bostonians when compared to the desolate wastelands that are currently the Patriots and Red Sox.

Right off the bat, the price for Jrue Holiday is steep, and it was always going to be in order to land him. Holiday's all-around abilities made him extremely coveted, but Boston has been waiting for years to make moves like this. They pulled the trigger earlier this offseason when Kristaps Porzingis became available, but getting this deal to go through for Holiday, considering all the competition, is way more impressive.

Losing two key members of the rotation in Williams and Brogdon will surely sting, with Williams in particular being a tough loss. Williams certainly wasn't the most reliable player due to the plethora of injuries he dealt with, but his interior presence on both ends of the floor was an element that no one else on Boston's roster possessed. His loss is probably a bit overstated (his impact seemed to wane at times last season), but the lack of depth in the frontcourt without him is hard to overlook right now.

The Brogdon situation was an interesting one. After being involved in the initial failed trade for Porzingis with the Los Angeles Clippers, Brogdon was reportedly pretty upset with the Celtics. That's why it initially seemed like a great opportunity to move him for Holiday once the former Buck was dealt to the Trail Blazers. Sure enough, that ended up happening.

Without the Brogdon drama, there's probably a decent shot the front office doesn't pull this trade off. From the moment Holiday became available, the Celtics were intent on adding him. While Holiday is very clearly a great fit with this team (more on that in a second), that's also probably due to the fact that the rumors surrounding Brogdon were true. Brad Stevens knew he was unhappy, and did what he had to do to upgrade him with Holiday.

Some folks believe the Celtics overpaid for Jrue Holiday, and again, while the price is steep, it feels like a completely reasonable deal. Holiday is one of the best all-around guards in the league, and the Celtics had enough depth where they could make a move like this. Trading picks at this point is part of trying to win a championship; these are the moves you make when you have two of the best players in the world on your team.

The other main reason this really cannot be considered an overpay is because of how good Holiday is. Yes, our last memory of him from last season is him getting torched by Jimmy Butler in the playoffs, but there was virtually no stopping Butler in the playoffs last year as the Celtics ended up finding out. When you take a step back, it's easy to see how impactful Holiday can be.

Jrue Holiday earned the second All-Star selection of his career last year (19.3 PPG, 7.4 APG, 5.1 RPG, 47.9 FG%, 38.4 3P%), and was part of the NBA's All-Defensive First Team for the third time in his career. Derrick White, who is set to be Holiday's backcourt partner, was part of the All-Defensive Second Team. When you add in Brown, this is the best defensive backcourt in the league, and it's not particularly close.

As we can see with those numbers above, Holiday is no slouch on offense either. Holiday can score from all three levels of the floor, but more importantly, he can get the ball to his teammates for open looks too. Holiday obviously is fresh off working with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, but his assist numbers could spike now that he's going to be creating looks for Tatum, Brown, and Porzingis.

The biggest problem with the Celtics last year was the fact that they didn't have a true playmaker running their offense. White has proven he can be that guy in spurts, but he spent all of last season playing behind Marcus Smart, who is no longer going to be stealing his minutes. The C's can go big or small when they need to, but they are probably best suited by starting White and Holiday while bringing Al Horford off the bench to help keep him fresh for the entire season.

Making this deal even more of a home run is that it directly hurts the Bucks, who are the biggest competition for the Celtics in the East. Milwaukee got their guy in Lillard, and while he will be a big help for them, losing Holiday is a massive blow. Now, he is going to their biggest rival, and will likely play a large role in limiting Lillard in their future meetings. Talk about a gut punch.

When you look at Boston's top six players (Tatum, Brown, Porzingis, Holiday, White, Horford) there is not a more complete group in the NBA. The lone weakness right now is the fact that there isn't much help behind Horford and Porzingis in terms of big men, but it doesn't sound like the Celtics are done retooling their roster just yet, so there should be reinforcements in town before the season gets underway.

When you step back and look at the Celtics, and then look at the rest of the league, it's tough to not get excited about the upcoming season. This core group, assuming they can mesh together and stay healthy, is absolutely lethal. They can score in bunches while also having the personnel to defend the other top teams in the league. No other team has the top level talent and flexibility that Boston has right now, and as a result they are the team to beat in the NBA until further notice.