NBA Rumors : Boston Celtics eyeing former NCAA champion with trade exception

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks
Portland Trail Blazers vs. New York Knicks

Fresh off an NBA Finals appearance, the Boston Celtics are out and about in the offseason. They already made one of the more prudent trades this year, acquiring Malcolm Brogdon without giving up too much capital.

However, the Celtics might be looking to increase their wing-depth with the available traded-player exceptions. According to Spotrac, the Celtics have a $6.9 million and a $5.9 million TPE (Traded-Player Exception).

Sean Deveney of reported that the Celtics could be eyeing the Portland Trail Blazers' Justise Winslow. Deveney quoted a Western Conference assistant coach:

"Winslow makes sense as a fourth or fifth wing off the bench on a good team but not on a team that is probably a 10 or 11 seed.

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"Chauncey (Billups) really likes him so that might keep him around, but if they start selling off pieces, he’d be one of the first to go.”

Winslow averaged 5.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 48 games last season.

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Boston Celtics' run and championship window

2022 NBA Finals: Game 6
2022 NBA Finals: Game 6

The Boston Celtics' run in 2022 was nothing short of amazing. In early January, the Celtics gave up a 25-point lead against the Knicks as they rallied back after being down 16 at halftime.

With this loss, the Celtics were 18-21, in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference. Shortly thereafter, the Celtics would go on a run that not many could have anticipated.

From Feb. 1 until the end of the regular season, the Celtics went 24-6. They finished second in the East.

Boston carried this momentum into the playoffs, sweeping the Brooklyn Nets in the first round. They then won back-to-back seven-game series with the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat.

The C's overcame a 3-2 deficit against Milwaukee, and after a resilient matchup against Miami, they advanced to the NBA Finals. Boston went up 2-1 against the Warriors, but dropped three games in a row after that.

So, will the Celtics be back next year?

The prevailing sentiment is that Boston would have never even made the Eastern Conference finals had Milwaukee's Khris Middleton been healthy. The Heat were bearing the burden of Jimmy Butler's injury, and basically missed out on the finals by one shot. Had Butler's 3-pointer gone in, things would have been very different.

Plenty of things had to go the Celtics' way to go that deep in the playoffs. This is not to discredit them, as luck plays a part in every successful run.

To get in the best position to make the NBA Finals again, Boston will have to regroup. And it will have to regroup not as a team that made it to the NBA Finals, but as a team that lost it.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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