3 Realistic Celtics Trade Targets at the Deadline

May 14, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad
May 14, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
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Already past the midpoint of the season, the Boston Celtics sit at 37-12 atop the NBA and are currently the odds-on favorite to win the title at +300. Boston has come up just short of their banner 18 in the last two seasons, first losing in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors in 2022 (four games to two) and losing Game Seven of the Eastern Conference FInals to the Miami Heat at home last season.

With the trade deadline set for less than a week away, on Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. ET, Brad Stevens and the Celtics will almost undoubtedly be scouring the trade market for talent that could finally push them over the edge in their championship pursuit.

Boston made some blockbuster trades this offseason, acquiring both Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday, but the trade deadline should bring a tamer approach, with more moves around the margins.

Also of note, Boston's front office has a traded player exception (TPE) worth $6.2 million at their disposal. The Celtics received the TPE when the team traded Grant Williams to the Dallas Mavericks in July. Essentially, the TPE allows Boston to acquire a player earning $6.2 million or less, without having to move offsetting salary the other way. The TPE expires at the trade deadline, so it would be hard to envision that Stevens allows it to go unused.

After consistently positioning themselves as one of the NBA's best regular season teams in recent years, the Celtics need to parlay that regular season success into a title, especially while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in their prime. Here are some names that could help bring that elusive banner 18 to the Garden.

3. Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons

The Celtics would be irresponsible not to enter the playoffs with insurance in the frontcourt. 37-year-old Al Horford has missed nearly one out of every five games that the Celtics have played over the last three seasons, while Kristaps Porzingis is notoriously injury prone. Porzingis has already been placed on the injury report 12 different times this season, and most recently missed two games earlier this week with a left ankle sprain. The former fourth overall pick has missed 14 games total for The Green this season.

The Celtics have been linked to the Pistons' center/power forward, reportedly expressing “great interest” along with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks. Stewart is only 22 years old and a former first round pick, which should also hike his value. In 35 games this season, Stewart is averaging 11 points per game, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. The Washington product has also shot 37.4 percent from three, which makes him a good plug and play candidate for the type of flex-out offensive system that Stevens and head coach Joe Mazzulla like to run.

However, Stewart's contract situation is the only reason why he is not higher on this list. The Celtics would have to match over $13 million in salary, and the Celtics only have two players making between $3 million and $18 million, Al Horford and Payton Pritchard.

Rather than engage in the salary cap gymnastics that it would take to bring in Stewart, it seems more feasible that Stevens would opt for a trade in which he could utilize the TPE. Stewart is still a name to keep an eye on though and would be a huge splash for the Celtics.