This week, Danny discussed the upcoming NBA and NHL trade deadlines:
Before you know it, we’ll be right in the middle of the NBA and Stanley Cup Playoffs. Both will begin in May, which is a little later than usual because of the late start to the season for each league, but May will be here soon.
That also means each league’s trade deadline is approaching. The NBA trade deadline is in two weeks, on March 25. The NHL trade deadline is next month, April 12.
Here in Boston, all eyes will be on what the Celtics and Bruins do at their respective trade deadlines. And I think, for each team, it’s a somewhat complicated situation.
Let’s start with the Celtics. Coming out of the All-Star break, the C’s are the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 19-17 record. If the playoffs began right now, Boston would be taking on the No. 5 seed New York Knicks in the first round.
Ahead of the Celtics are the No. 3 seed Milwaukee Bucks, the No. 2 seed Brooklyn Nets, and the No. 1 seed Philadelphia 76ers. Right now, the Nets are the favorite to come out of the East. Brooklyn also has the second-best odds to win the NBA Championship at +300, behind the Los Angeles Lakers at +280.
The Celtics have the eighth-best odds to win it all, at +3000. So what can they do to improve those odds?
I think it’s safe to say that Vegas has it right when they make Brooklyn the favorite to come out of the East. The current Celtics would most certainly have a shot in a seven-game series to beat the Bucks and the 76ers. But against the Nets? With Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden? How do you stop that?
Do you get defensive and trade for a someone like Indiana’s Myles Turner, who’s averaging 3.4 blocks per game? Or do you try to keep up with Brooklyn’s scoring by trading for someone like Washington’s Bradley Beal, who’s averaging 32.9 points per game? Or, if you’re Danny Ainge, do you just keep it the way it is and hope that increased minutes for Robert Williams, combined with the return of Marcus Smart, will provide enough defense to let Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker go toe-to-toe with the best scorers in the league in the playoffs?
I’m willing to bet that Ainge goes with the latter and doesn’t make any bold moves at this year’s deadline.
If you put a gun to my head though, I myself would try to add Beal’s scoring while giving Williams more than just 16 minutes per game to protect the rim. Even if that meant trading Jaylen Brown. I would probably do that trade.
Just don’t trade Tatum. As I’ve been telling you for a few years now, he’s as untouchable as they come.
As for the Bruins, they are the No. 4 seed in their division. Under the new playoff format for the 2020-21 season, the top four teams in all four newly-aligned divisions will advance to the playoffs. From there, the first two rounds will be played within each division. So, for example, if the playoffs began today, the No. 4 seed Bruins would play the No. 1 seed in their division, which is the New York Islanders, while the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds from that division would play each other in the first round. The winners of each of those two series would then meet in the second round.
The remaining four teams that come out of each division would then be re-seeded, potentially setting up a Stanley Cup Final that we’ve never seen before. Imagine the Bruins and Canadiens meeting in the Cup Final? This year, it could very well happen.
But the Bruins have to get there first. With the trade deadline still a month away, the B’s have some time to think it over. But if they’re thinking of making a run, they should in fact be thinking about trading for Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel.
Eichel only has two goals in 21 games this season, but, that’s still two more goals than Bruins center David Krejci, who has zero goals in 19 games.
I think it’s obvious that Eichel needs to get out of Buffalo. He’s only 24 years old, and scored a career-high 36 goals last season. He’s under a massive contract that has a cap hit of $10 million for the next five seasons. But he’d be worth it.
Charlie McAvoy and a draft pick for Eichel? Sign me up for that trade.
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