Forsberg: The Celtics’ acquisition of Mike Muscala is a cheap win; on Thursday, the veteran big man Mike Muscala was acquired by the Boston Celtics from the Oklahoma City Thunder. This move marked the Celtics’ first foray into the waters of the trade deadline.
According to reports, the Celtics will trade Justin Jackson and a pair of selections in the second round. After being carried out of training camp, Jackson only played a limited amount of games. Muscala can be incorporated into the traded player exception for Dennis Schroder by the Boston Bruins.
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The change does not significantly affect the situation. Muscala adds playable depth to a frontcourt that can also rely on Luke Kornet and Grant Williams, which is essential considering that the remaining regular-season schedule for the Boston Celtics includes five consecutive games, and starting big men Robert Williams III and Al Horford are both listed as questionable with injuries.
Muscala, now 31 years old, has a career 3-point shooting percentage of 41.3 percent throughout the past season and a half. He watches out for the ball and refuses to deviate from his assigned duties (66 percent of his shots this season are 3-pointers).
Muscala is a reliable defender, and we are curious to see how he performs in the switch-heavy defensive schemes that Boston employs. According to the tracking by the NBA, opponents’ shooting output has been below what was predicted against him this season, including 4.3 percent below what was expected on all attempts taken inside six feet.
Both in Atlanta and in Oklahoma City, Muscala and Horford played on the same squad together.
If this is the only move the Celtics make before the trade deadline, it could be considered a letdown, at least when compared to watching a rival team like Milwaukee add Jae Crowder to strengthen their roster depth.
If the cost of more desirable big-man options like Jakob Poeltl was too high for Boston’s blood, then adding Muscala for depth purposes is an excellent addition and is likely better than what could have been found on the buyout market. This is because Muscala has more experience than what could have been found on the buyout market.