The rest of the teams in NBA are already at work trying to find a way to stop the Boston Celtics just days after they captured a championship.

And one title contender pulled off a trade Thursday to be better prepared in case it sees the Celtics in the NBA Finals. Or, it might just be copying Boston’s recipe for success.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarkowski, the Oklahoma City Thunder acquired elite wing defender Alex Caruso from the Chicago Bulls for guard Josh Giddey.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, who earned the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference last season with a 57-25 record before bowing out in the second round to the Dallas Mavericks, could view Caruso as a missing piece to a team with title aspirations and have him form a dynamic defensive tandem with Lu Dort. Sounds very similar to what the Celtics did last season teaming Jrue Holiday with Derrick White.

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The 30-year-old Caruso is a two-time All-Defensive guard as he earned Second Team honors this past season. Caruso also ranked fourth in steals for the 2023-24 campaign and routinely guarded the opponent’s top players.

While Caruso, who won an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020, is known for his defensive ability, he can shoot at a high level, too. The 6-foot-5, 186-pound guard shot 40.8% from 3-point range on 4.7 attempts per game this past season to average a career-high 10.1 points.

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Caruso should add to a Thunder squad that ranked fourth in defensive rating last season. He will give Oklahoma City more defensive versatility and a player who can matchup with the top wing players in the league, like Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Good news for the Celtics is that the Thunder will first have to get through a vaunted Western Conference before they could possibly even see Boston in next year’s playoffs.

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Featured image via David Banks/USA TODAY Sports Images