Boston Celtics: The new additions of Wagner and Kornet seem to be working out well

Mar 27, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) before the start of their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 27, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) before the start of their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Celtics uncharacteristically made some moves at the NBA’s trading deadline day this past Thursday. Considering the way that the Celtics have under-performed on the court this season, a change to the roster was inevitable. Especially when the Celtics also have the league’s largest traded player exception to play around with this year.

The Boston Celtics uncharacteristically acquired three players on trade deadline day

In an effort to bolster and improve the overall roster and depth on the team, the Celtics acquired Evan Fournier from the Orlando Magic, power forward/center Moritz “Mo” Wagner from the Washington Wizards and center Luke Kornet from the Chicago Bulls.

However, the most important part of making moves at the deadline for the Celtics was to try and get themselves below the league’s luxury tax. Which they did. And by doing so, the Celtics will evade the NBA’s repeater tax, which was also an important goal for the organization.

Acquiring Fournier from the Magic was surprisingly not too challenging. It only cost the Celtics two second-round draft picks and Jeff Teague. But it would take much more negotiating for the Celtics to land their other two trade targets. In a separate deal, a three-team trade between the Celtics, Bulls, and Wizards was constructed to land Wagner and Kornet.

In order to do this trade, still with the goal in mind of getting under the luxury tax, the Celtics also had to part ways with Daniel Theis and Javonte Green. The deal shipped out Theis and Green to the Bulls, along with Trent Brown Jr. from the Wizards, while Washington received Daniel Gafford and Christian Hutchinson in return.

It’s fair to say that the Boston Celtics are going to feel the loss of Theis, both on and off the court. As he was a defensive presence and provided screens and playmaking for the offense. Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens seems to feel the same about losing Theis at the trade deadline.

"“I think obviously losing Daniel was really tough. I think Daniel’s been one of our best defenders the last couple of years on a team that has really struggled to defend. We’re going to have to have other people step up. It’s time for everybody to be their best on that end, and I think that that is the number one thing for this team; when you lose a communicator like that, a guy that can direct your defense from the backline, and a guy that is going to play hard on each and every possession, that’s going to be something that we’re going to have to make up for. So that is not insignificant.” – Brad Stevens, per Conor Roce of"

However, both Wagner and Kornet have already made their impact on the Celtics in just their first game with their new team.

In his debut game, Wagner hit his first shot, which was a 3-pointer that helped the Celtics defeat the Milwaukee Bucks by 18 points. Kornet, on the other hand, made his debut on Saturday night against the OKC Thunder by connecting on his first two shots, which were back-to-back 3-pointers to help lift the Celtics to victory.

The versatility of Wagner and Kornet will allow the Celtics to utilize them throughout the wing and center positions. In just his first game with Boston, it was impressive to see Wagner try to direct and be vocal on the defensive end. Which is similar to Theis in many ways. In fact, Theis and Wagner both learned the game of basketball while growing up in Germany. Although they are different players, their roots in the game may reside the same.

The Celtics will now have a center position group led by Robert Williams, Tristan Thompson, Wagner, Kornet, and Tacko Fall. The new additions make the position a well-rounded group for the Celtics. While they’re all rather defensive-minded, they each bring their own element to the offensive end. Williams plays above the basket and gets alley-oops and put-backs, similar to Thompson, but on a much higher level. Wagner and Kornet can shoot from deep and drive to the basket. And we all know what Fall brings to the table.

Although it has only been a two-game sample, the Celtics are 2-0 since the trade deadline. They came back and defeated the Bucks by 18 points and the Thunder by 17 points in back-to-back games.

This is also without Fournier, who was the big-ticket acquisition for the Celtics. He is currently being sidelined due to following the league’s health and safety protocols. However, once Fournier gets acclimated with the Boston Celtics, he too will also make a big impact on the team.

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