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Celtics Trade Deadline Grades: National Writers Really Love Brad Stevens' Moves

BOSTON (CBS) -- Brad Stevens was busy on his first deadline day as Celtics president of basketball ops., pulling off a trio of trades before the trade buzzer went off. While the James Harden-Ben Simmons swap stole the day, Stevens certainly did well in bringing Derrick White to the Boston backcourt while also reuniting with Daniel Theis.

Stevens' moves are seen as varying levels of great on the national level. Locally, you would have thought he traded away Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for a few more nights of Disney On Ice. But the talking heads on the radio usually hate anything and everything the Celtics -- and any local team for that matter -- do at any point in time.

And let's be honest, most of them don't know boo about the NBA. So let's head to the experts who know what they're talking about to see how Stevens and the Celtics did on deadline day.

Zach Harper, The Athletic

Harper gave Boston's pickup of White an A-minus.

I love this pickup for the Celtics. Boston has been struggling to put together some depth in their backcourt. Dennis Schröder has not been the answer, and when is the last time you felt consistently good about Payton Pritchard getting minutes? Outside of Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, there just hasn't been enough competence within the Celtics' backcourt. That's where Derrick White comes in. He's exactly the type of player the Celtics need to sprinkle in, and his versatility means you can get away with starting him or bringing him first off the bench.

Rohan Nadkarni, SI

Nadkarni lists the Celtics as winners -- or at least he sees the moves at the deadline as a win for "Brad Stevens Sycophants."

With Brad Stevens no longer coaching, it's been a while since his biggest fans could sing his praises. I'm not sure how many people are still picking Stevens over Giannis, but he acquitted himself well during his first trade deadline as president of basketball ops. Derrick White and Daniel Theis aren't going to take Boston over the top. What they can do is fill in nicely around a core that's been one of the best in the league over the last couple months. Considering the team was likely losing Dennis Schroder in the offseason, turning him into a few years of Theis is good managing. And while Josh Richardson was giving the team solid minutes, White fills a need at point guard. Good stuff from Brad, as I'm sure you'll hear in the days to come. After a rough start, the Celtics are legit.

That is one way to put it. It's really a lot of words to say the Celtics had a good deadline.

Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports

The Celtics were winners here too. Big winners.

The Celtics didn't make the sexiest moves, but Brad Stevens' first trade deadline in the front office was an unmitigated success. Boston brought in Derrick White, the type of player who seems like he'll thrive in a supporting role on a good team, parting ways with Josh Richardson and Romeo Langford to clear up a crowded backcourt. The cost was a first-round pick, but White seems more than worthy of relinquishing that asset.

Additionally, Boston sent out Dennis Schroder, Enes Freedom and Bruno Fernando and brought back old Celtic Daniel Theis. All told, the Celtics could have maneuvered themselves out of the luxury tax while improving their team, something that's very difficult to do in the modern NBA.

Jack Maloney gave Boston a B-plus for the White trade and an A-minus for the Schroder-Theis swap,

Ricky O'Donnell, SB Nation

The Celtics got a pair of A-minuses here, as O'Donnell is a big fan of both trades.

On White: The Celtics cashed in their first round pick and salary filler for a guard in Derrick White. The 27-year-old has made a nice leap as a playmaker this season, posting a career-best assist rate, which should help a Boston team in major need of more passing. The Spurs were going nowhere this year, so salvaging a first round pick that should be around No. 20 in exchange for White is nice business by the Spurs. San Antonio should now have three first round picks in this draft with their own, Boston's, and Toronto's. If White can lean into being more a connecting piece between Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, this could be a nice win for Boston. White is also a tenacious backcourt defender who should make the Celtics defense even more intimidating.

On Theis: The Celtics brought back an old friend by dealing for Theis, who should provide quality minutes at backup center behind Robert Williams. Theis is a mobile big who will hit the glass, defend in space, and not make many mistakes. By acquiring both Theis and Derrick White at the deadline, Boston improved both their defense and their depth.

Not too shabby for Stevens on his first deadline day. Now we'll wait and see how he fills out the Boston roster (the Celtics have four open roster spots) and, of course, how the trades help them the rest of this season.

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