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Stephen A. Smith Gives Decisive Take on Celtics After Besting Warriors

On January 19, the Boston Celtics overcame the Golden State Warriors in what was a rematch of the 2022 NBA Finals, in which Boston lost in six games.

Speaking on a January 20 episode of ESPN’s First Take, NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith shared his belief that the Celtics are currently the best team in professional basketball and should be viewed as the clear-cut championship favorites.

“Boston’s the best team in basketball. They can hurt you in a multitude of ways. Right now, I don’t think anybody would argue with the fact that Jayson Tatum is a leading league MVP candidate; he is a superstar. They have the best depth in the NBA, one could argue about Denver as well, but I’m gonna pick the Celtics for the moment. And, not to mention the fact that their defense can turn it up a notch when Robert Williams is on the court. Right now, the Boston Celtics are easily the favorites to win it all,” Smith said.

The Celtics currently boast a 34-12 record and sit atop of the Eastern Conference, 4.5 games ahead of the second-placed Milwaukee Bucks, while playing some of the most attractive offense the NBA has to offer.

Celtics Expected To Sit Out NBA Trade Deadline

According to CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith, who spoke with numerous sources around the league, it would appear that the Celtics are not expected to participate in trade talks around the February 9 deadline. However, there is also a belief that Brad Stevens could look to improve the current rotation in the buy-out market if the right player becomes available.

Celtics trade intel three weeks from the trade deadline@KeithSmithNBA empties what he’s heard about Boston on the rumor mill as the trade deadline creeps ever closer https://t.co/uyarpvzjp9 pic.twitter.com/Av3a5GIxhL

— CelticsBlog (@celticsblog) January 18, 2023

“Various sources told CelticsBlog that they expect Boston to be a top destination on the buyout market. One source said, “They don’t need to make a trade. Why bother? They don’t need anything. Brad (Stevens) already gave Joe (everything he needs). And that Gallo (Danilo Gallinari) exception (Disabled Player Exception) will allow them to outspend everyone else for a buyout guy. They can let the deadline pass and then just pick off the best free agent or two for playoff depth. And vets will all want the Celtics because they can get paid and they can win,” Smith wrote.

Given the Celtics’ strong start to the season and lofty expectations of making the finals for the second straight year, it would make perfect sense for the front office to look at potential ways of improving their roster without giving up any assets or depth.

Celtics Encouraged To Keep Draft Assets

While the Celtics could benefit from some additional depth at the wing positions and possibly from an additional center to provide additional insurance for Robert Williams’ health, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale has warned of the potential risk in trading away more future draft picks to get a deal over the line.

JAYLEN BROWN TOO STRONG 💪🏿 pic.twitter.com/OvxRccNVFg

— Celtas Brasil 6️⃣☘ (@BrasilCeltas) January 12, 2023

“Boston has the capacity to dangle first-rounders in 2025, 2027 and 2029. The latter is too far away to spotlight…Rival teams should be most interested in the 2025 selection. It conveys relatively soon yet post-dates Brown’s entry in 2024 free agency. The current extension rules make it prohibitive for him to sign one, so he will hit the open market. This isn’t to imply Brown is a flight risk, but he could be,” Favale wrote.

With just under three weeks until the trade deadline, it will be interesting to see how the Celtics approach strengthening their current roster.

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