Before the Boston Celtics' drubbing at the hands of the Toronto Raptors, coach Brad Stevens was asked for his thoughts on what changes his team's roster may undergo prior to the NBA's trade deadline, and his response was not likely one to satisfy those hoping for some action on Thursday.
Brad Stevens on the trade deadline: "My cell phone works up here [in Toronto] sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t. So I’ll probably have to find out from [reporters] if anything happens. But I don’t think -- I’m hopeful that we don’t make a lot of change."
His words are understandable considering the fact that he's put a lot of time into helping each of the players on his roster become the best version of themselves, and the results have paid dividends with the team currently holding the top spot in the Eastern Conference. No coach enjoys the departure of a decent player he's invested his time and energy into.
One such case is Marcus Smart, who has been with Stevens for all but the first of his years in Boston, and is currently the longest-tenured Celtic. While Smart has struggled with shooting efficiency throughout his career, he relentlessly plays his heart out on defense and fights for every loose ball, as is reflected by his seemingly always positive plus/minus ratio. Nevertheless, the Celtics are rumored to be shopping Smart for a first-round pick with the 23-year-old set to enter restricted free agency in the 2018 offseason.
Stevens often praises Smart's crucial defense after wins, and he would most likely be less than satisfied with the departure of a player he's gotten so used to utilizing over the past four years, as he would be with any valued member of his roster heading elsewhere.
The Celtics have repeatedly shown a need for an increase in scoring production off the bench, and they are reportedly pursuing Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans to do so. While adding Evans wouldn't constitute a drastic change, Steven's reluctance to hope for major roster adjustments is understandable, especially with his team holding an impressive 39-16 record.