The NBA trade deadline came and went, resulting in a handful of last-minute swaps across the league, including a few that’ll surely collide with the Boston Celtics one way or another amid their run at the finals.

Since the start of the 2023-24 season, Boston’s been at the forefront of the NBA with a league-best 39-12 heading into Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline. However, right behind the new-look Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown-led C’s has been a crew of Eastern Conference hopefuls, ambitious and confident in attacking the trade market just in time to also bolster their respective rosters.

Here are the five biggest moves made that could impact the Celtics and their chance of returning to the NBA Finals:

1. Philadelphia 76ers acquire Buddy Hield from Indiana Pacers (Feb. 8)
During this past offseason, the Pacers were searching for a trade suitor to dump Buddy Hield and the remaining $18.5 million on his contract. That endeavor came to life just hours ahead of the deadline, although the Pacers assisted a neighboring rival in the East: the 76ers.

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Philadelphia suffered the biggest bruise to its roster of any team in the league after it was revealed that Joel Embiid could miss the remainder of the season, and will undergo knee surgery. At the time, the Sixers held a 29-16 record as the No. 3 seed in the East, but have since fallen to the fifth slot, going 1-4 without Embiid, making Philadelphia the ideal buyer with hopes of Embiid — last season’s MVP — returning in time for the playoffs.

Before landing Hield, the 76ers ranked 19th in outside shooting (36.2%) and sixth in offensive rating (118.7). Presumably, both those numbers improve by adding Hield, a 40.1% 3-point sniper, to the mix with 32 games left to play in the regular season; including one against Boston on Feb. 27.

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Philadelphia’s odds to win finals: +3000 (via FanDuel Sportsbook)

2. Boston Celtics acquire Xavier Tillman from Memphis Grizzlies (Feb. 7)
The Celtics did themselves justice too, improving on one critical component that’ll go a long way for a team on the hunt for Banner 18: defense.

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Boston president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, who entered the deadline with very little financial wiggle room, made several minor moves, but none as notable as adding Xavier Tillman from the Grizzlies. The C’s surrendered Lamar Stevens, who never established a role, playing 6.4 minutes in 19 games. Tillman, on the other hand, adds some much-needed depth along with a 6-foot-7, 245-pound frame.

The 25-year-old averaged 1.2 steals and one block in 20.6 minutes with the Grizzlies, known for being very active and mobile defensively. That checks several boxes for a Celtics team that’s been vulnerable in said areas.

Boston’s odds to win finals: +260 (best in NBA)

3. Indiana Pacers acquire Pascal Siakam from Toronto Raptors (Jan. 17)
Before playing seller to send Hield off and packing, the Pacers were buyers in trading for two-time All-Star Pascal Siakam from the No. 12-seeded Raptors.

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With expectations unclear regarding where the Pacers would stack up against powerhouses like the Celtics and Bucks, Indiana’s refused to tap out. The organization paired franchise star Tyrese Haliburton, the NBA’s leader in assists (11.7), with a veteran who’s played on the biggest stage in Siakam.

The Pacers defeated Boston in two of their five regular season matchups, including the quarterfinal round of the In-Season Tournament. Three of those battles, which ended in a 10-point or fewer scoring differential, begged a premature, but fair question: will Indiana and the Celtics cross paths in the playoffs? So far, both teams have gone back and forth, turning regular-season games into playoff-like atmospheres, evidently increasing Indiana’s confidence as the young underdog in the East.

Indiana’s odds to win finals: +10000

4. Miami Heat acquire Terry Rozier from Charlotte Hornets (Jan. 17)
Charlotte completely blew up its roster, dumping off several big-dollar contracts, and Miami got involved just in time to add Terry Rozier amid what’s been a career year for the 29-year-old guard.

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Even despite watching departing from key bench pieces Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, while virtually doing nothing to improve, the Heat rewarded their patient roster. Like last season, Miami’s tiptoeing on the tightrope of contending and missing the playoffs. But by adding Rozier, the team plugs in a traditional point guard to pair with two-guard Tyler Herro, and one that could take on a significant chunk of the scoring load — Rozier is averaging 20.7 points with a team-leading 6.4 assists.

Rozier also fits in as the next Miami villain, joining a team that’s prevented the Celtics from reaching the finals in two out of the last four seasons.

Miami’s odds to win finals: +4200

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5. New York Knicks acquire OG Anunoby from Toronto Raptors (Dec. 30)
Surprisingly, the Knicks have stunned the NBA, mustering up a convincing run at a top-3 seed in the East, prompting the front office to get active.

New York snagged OG Anunoby from the in-turmoil Raptors, giving team leaders Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson a front-court veteran with finals experience. Rather than sitting content as a team expected to go nowhere, the Knicks seized the chance to improve and go all-in with a relatively open conference outside of the top two seeds.

Anunoby has averaged 15.3 points on 49.8% shooting along with 4.2 rebounds in 41 games played.

On deadline day, New York also swung a trade for versatile veterans Bojan Bogdanović and Alec Burks, unloading Evan Fournier, Quentin Grimes, Malachi Flynn, Ryan Arcidiacono and two second-round picks to the Pistons.

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Head coach Tom Thibodeau has enough familiarity, and playoff history, with the Celtics, making the Knicks a team Boston shouldn’t overlook.

New York’s odds to win finals: +1600

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images