With only a few hours left before the passing of a crazy 2023 NBA trade deadline, the Boston Celtics made a move for former Oklahoma City Thunder big man Mike Muscala.
The C’s dealt forward Justin Jackson and two second-round picks in return for the 31-year-old.
While the Thunder are expected to waive Jackson and remain content with their picks, Boston will keep Muscala and likely utilize him off the bench as a 6-foot-11 center who can also shoot.
The C’s didn’t even come close to making the biggest deal of the trade deadline, yet their trade is still worthy of a grade and further examination.
Celtics trade for Mike Muscala: B+
As the current 1-seed in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics weren’t desperate to make a splash at the deadline like other teams. Yet, it never hurts to add more depth to a solid roster, so that’s where Muscala comes in.
The big man has bounced around the league as of late, as he has been on the Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Oklahoma City Thunder during his 11-year career. While he has never been more than a bench piece for all of these teams, Muscala has still put up decent numbers.
This season with the Thunder before the trade, he averaged 6.2 points in his limited 14.5 minutes per outing. More importantly, though, he shot 39.4% from deep and 43.8% from the field overall. These aren’t game-breaking numbers, yet he has shown he can shoot from beyond the arc and provide some meaningful bench minutes.
While everyone celebrated LeBron James for breaking the all-time scoring record against the Thunder on Tuesday night, Muscala was sneakily torching the Lakers. He dropped 16 points in only 17 minutes and made four of his seven attempted triples. Of course, there were more significant things happening that game, but it was also a showcase of what the former second-round pick can do off the bench.
In Mike Muscala's last game with the Thunder, he absolutely punished the Lakers on LeBron James Day. He was 4-for-7 from deep and outscored AD 16-to-13.
— Bill Sy (@deliberatepix) February 9, 2023
Although Muscala isn’t a household name, giving up a few picks and Justin Jackson for him isn’t a bad deal. Jackson barely played for Boston this season (4.7 minuter per game) and didn’t look great during his limited opportunities. Of course, it’d be nice if the C’s acquired Muscala for even less, however, given the pick-heavy status of the current trade market, Boston’s front office didn’t sacrifice too much in their offer.
The Celtics reportedly made a run at former San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl, yet their deal wasn’t enough to beat Toronto’s offer:
Boston’s trade offer for Jakob Poetl:
Multiple future second-round picks
(Via @BrianTRobb ) pic.twitter.com/IwLR0UZDWg
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) February 9, 2023
Overall, Boston’s trade activity has been limited. But with the best record in the league, they didn’t need to make any major deals. And even though the deal for Muscala was far from ground-breaking, it added a little depth for little cost.