The Boston Celtics improved on the margins while not giving any key role players in a trade for Oklahoma City Thunder big man Mike Muscala.
Boston traded 27-year-old journeyman Justin Jackson, who’s averaged 0.9 points and in fewer than five minutes per game this season, along with a pair of second-round picks for Muscala.
Brad Stevens’ trade for Muscala brings more size and shooting to the Celtics frontcourt while also adding depth behind Robert Williams and Al Horford, which was thought to be something Boston wanted to accomplish before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Muscala, while not a defensive liability by any means, packs his biggest punch on the offensive end. He’s shot 39.4% from 3-point range this season and shot 42.9% from beyond the arc last season.
During the last three campaigns with the Thunder, Muscala averaged 7.8 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 44.7% from the floor and 39.7% from 3-point range. He’s familiar coming off the bench as he played 15.4 minutes per game during that span with five starts in 121 contests.
The nine-year NBA veteran should provide the Celtics with a dimension they haven’t had off the bench this season. For comparison’s sake, Boston likely was hoping 6-foot-10, 233-pound Danilo Gallinari would serve a similar and perhaps elevated role prior to his preseason injury. Gallinari shot a similar 39.8% from long range during the past three seasons, though saw more attempts (5.5) compared to Muscala (4.0).
According to The Athletic’s Jay King, the 26-28 Thunder outscored opponents by 9.8 points per 100 possession when Muscala was on the floor this season.
Muscala also is on an incredibly team-friendly contact. The 31-year-old in the first season of a two-year, $7 million pact and now Boston has a club option for the 2023-24 campaign.