Saturday, January 28, 2023

Brad Stevens looking to 'fortify' Celtics depth ahead of NBA trade deadline

The Celtics have less than two weeks before the Feb. 9th NBA trade deadline if they plan to add some more depth to an already championship contending roster.

While many could argue that the C's don't necessarily need to make a move, it's not stopping president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, who said he and his staff "always have to be looking at how you can improve."
"I go back to it -- I think we're good and I think we're in the mix and hard to beat," Stevens said Saturday in an interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub. "But there are other teams that are like that, too. So, anything you can do to improve your opportunities you have to really vet and look at."
It was nearly a year ago when Stevens pulled the trigger on two trades at the deadline that brought in Derrick White and Daniel Theis, while sending Josh Richardson, Dennis Schroder, Romeo Langford, and two first-round picks out of town.

This time around, Stevens doesn't anticipate the same types of moves, but he is open on adding a piece or two.
"You can reshuffle the deck and add totally different guys that are significant minutes players for you," Stevens said. "That's probably a lot less likely here because we've got a really good core that's played together in big moments, that understands what those moments are like, that knows where we want to go.

"What's probably more likely is evaluating how to fortify your depth, how to make sure you're as foolproof as possible. But hey, there are other teams out there too and there's good players all around the league. You're probably looking at those as your opportunities that you're stewing over."
When asked about interim head coach Joe Mazzulla, Stevens defended the 34-year-old following the Celtics coming off a 0-3 week and many questioning some of his decision making -- especially against the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks, where the team blew late-game leads.
"If he doesn't have an answer or if he goes through and objectively assesses himself after the game in conversations with any of us, he is the first one that's going to dive in, learn, grow, and try to correct," Stevens said. "I think that's a really great quality. Obviously, the Miami game didn't go the way we wanted. I thought we played great for the first 40 minutes and then we just hit the skids in the last eight minutes and there were some things late that we didn't do well.

"When we looked at the end of the New York game, even though some of the shots didn't go in, I thought we handled those situations excellently. So, there's just a lot of willingness to continue to grow, to continue to improve. There's a great connection with the team."
Despite the Celtics having the league's best record at 35-15, Stevens believes there is always room for improvements
"I think they've done a lot of good things," Stevens said of his team. "When I look at it from the big picture assessment, I would say that if we stay relatively healthy, focus on some areas to improve on both ends of the floor, and iron some very small things out that are very manageable, we can be in the mix. I don't think we're rolling like the Bruins are rolling."
The Celtics will look to snap a three-game skid when they host their rival the rival Los Angeles (23-26) tonight at 8:30 ET on ABC.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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