Despite not having a legitimate NBA superstar on their roster, the Indiana Pacers have turned themselves into a huge threat in the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference this season. As of now, the Pacers are sitting in the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 32-16 record. Unfortunately, in their recent game against the Toronto Raptors, the Pacers lost their best player, Victor Oladipo, in a season-ending injury.
Victor Oladipo’s injury will not only affect the Pacers’ chances to make a deep playoff run, but it will also influence the plans of Eastern Conference contenders like the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers before the February NBA trade deadline. With the Pacers expected to struggle without Oladipo, the Celtics and the 76ers “could be less thirsty for a blockbuster move,” according to Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports.
“With Oladipo sidelined and the Pacers likely to slide back to the middle of the pack, the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics could be less thirsty for a blockbuster move at the deadline. Why give up assets if you can move up organically? The Celtics could float Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown on the trade market, but league sources tell NBCSports.com they are likely to sit sight and hope both bounce back to last season’s levels. With the chances of a midseason Anthony Davis trade lessening by the day, the Celtics have good reason to hold pat.”
The Celtics definitely have a reason to stay put before the February NBA trade deadline. With the New Orleans Pelicans unlikely to make Anthony Davis available on the trade market, the Celtics will likely keep their valuable assets to pursue him in the summer of 2019. Even without engaging in a blockbuster deal, the Celtics already have one of the best rosters in the league. As of now, the Celtics should focus on improving their chemistry and figure out how to maximize the talents on their team.
Meanwhile, the Sixers may no longer consider engaging in another blockbuster trade, but they still need to address their depth and add players that can help them improve their floor spacing. Haberstroh suggested two types of deal that the Sixers may consider before the February NBA trade deadline. First is a trade that will send Markelle Fultz, Wilson Chandler, and a future draft pick to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Kent Bazemore, Kevin Huerter and Dewayne Dedmon. Second is a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers that would give them J.R. Smith and Channing Frye.