BOSTON — The Celtics have the best record (31-9) in the NBA and have yet to lose at home through 19 games, but with the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline just around the corner, those in Boston’s rearview mirror are seeking ways to improve their respective rosters.

That occurred Wednesday when the Pacers, who eliminated the Celtics in the In-Season Tournament in December, swung a trade with the Raptors. Indiana acquired two-time All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam, a respected veteran and member of Toronto’s 2019 championship squad, to further establish the Pacers as a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference.

None of that’s within Boston’s control.

“Obviously I saw it,” Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said ahead of Wednesday night’s Celtics-Spurs game. “There’s a TV out in the back, guys talking about it but it doesn’t really concern me.”

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Mazzulla added: “I really don’t care.”

Laser-focused as ever, Mazzulla is best known for prioritizing everything Celtics-oriented while shunning all potential outside distractions.

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The Celtics already did their part in the offseason, although president of basketball operations Brad Stevens has expressed interest in possibly adding before the deadline passes. What more can be done to a near-perfect starting five that’ll shake the rumor mill? Especially when considering the financial complications in keeping all the pieces in place — Boston has several impending free agents such as Jayson Tatum, Derrick White and Jrue Holiday if he opts out of his $37.3 million player option for 2024-25.

There isn’t much wiggle room to get super creative when considering Boston’s position, even with a $6.2 million traded player expectation from the Grant Williams departure. For the most part, the Celtics are stuck riding the same horse that’s continuously amplified their already favorable NBA Finals odds — and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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That said, the gap between the Celtics and Pacers was still affected by Indiana’s aggressive trigger.

Boston, alongside the Bucks and 76ers, entered the 2023-24 season as the presumed favorites. That trio was — and still is, for the most part — expected to collide when the playoffs rolled around and battle to escape the East as the top dog. And while that’s still in play with the Celtics, Milwaukee and Philadelphia settled in first-to-third place respectively, the Pacers are also convinced that they belong in the conversation.

Indiana already leads the NBA in field goal percentage (50.8%) and assists (31), sitting at the No. 6 seed at the time of the trade. Adding Siakam, who’s averaged a solid 22.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists, could serve as a critical move potentially attributed to a push at the No. 5 or 4 seed.

In Tyrese Haliburton, the Pacers already have a franchise star. The 23-year-old is Indiana’s centerpiece for the present and future, averaging an NBA-leading 12.5 assists and keeping visions of a deep playoff run alive.

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Haliburton has risen to the occasion when matched up with the Celtics too. He notched a 26-point, 10-rebound and 13-assist triple-double in eliminating the Celtics in the tournament’s quarterfinal round and has averaged 19 points against Boston in 11 career games.

Pairing that with Siakam could vastly alter the trajectory of Indiana’s season. Not to mention Siakam is very familiar with the Celtics too, having spent the entirety of his eight-year career in Toronto, undergoing seven playoff matchups with Boston.

At first glance, the Siakam deal might not seem like a major deal, but it could signal how other teams in the East feel and play some role down the line when the Celtics transition into playoff mode.

Featured image via Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports Images