Forsberg: Celtics' trade for Mike Muscala is a small win at low cost


The Boston Celtics dipped their toes into the trade deadline waters Thursday by acquiring veteran big man Mike Muscala from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Celtics reportedly will send out Justin Jackson and a pair of second-round picks. Jackson played sparingly after being carried out of training camp. Boston can absorb Muscala into the Dennis Schroder traded player exception.

The move doesn’t move the needle much. But with five back-to-backs remaining on Boston’s regular-season schedule and starting big men Robert Williams III and Al Horford both on the injury report, Muscala adds playable depth to a frontcourt that can also lean on Luke Kornet and Grant Williams.

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The 31-year-old Muscala is shooting 41.3 percent from beyond the 3-point arc over the last season-plus. He takes care of the ball and won’t step outside his role (66 percent of his shots this season are 3-pointers).

Muscala is a solid defender and we’re interested to see how he fares in Boston’s switch-heavy schemes. Opponents are shooting below expected output against him this season, including 4.3 percent below expected on all shots inside of six feet, per NBA tracking.

Muscala and Horford were teammates in both Atlanta and Oklahoma City.

If this is the only move the Celtics make on deadline day, it might be a bit of a disappointment, at least while watching a rival like Milwaukee add Jae Crowder to bolster their depth.

But if the cost for more desirable big-man options like Jakob Poeltl were too rich for Boston’s blood, then adding Muscala for depth purposes is a perfectly fine addition and likely better than what could have been found on the buyout market.

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