Two former Boston Celtics have found a new home, and said new home may not be for long.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported via his X account that the Washington Wizards had traded Danilo Gallinari and Mike Muscala to the Detroit Pistons for Marvin Bagley III, Isaiah Livers, and a second-round pick.
From the Celtics' perspective, that's not even the biggest news. With Gallinari and Muscala now officially traded to another team, Boston can now legally acquire them, either via trade or by signing were they to be waived, as confirmed by MassLive's Brian Robb.
Before the Wizards trade, the Celtics could not legally bring them back because, per the CBA, teams who trade their player(s) can't re-acquire said player(s) for a year. However, because that rule is dependent on who was the last team that traded them, the Celtics are no longer restricted by it, meaning they can trade for them and/or sign them if they get waived. The question that remains is, should the Celtics look into that?
Why bringing one or both of Danilo Gallinari and Mike Muscala back to Boston Celtics is worth considering
First, I've mentioned before that Brad Stevens has an affinity for bringing back former Celtics in the past, so it wouldn't be surprising if he did it again. That has only continued over the past year. Per HoopsHype's Michael Scotto, Stevens tried to bring Josh Richardson back this past offseason. On Christmas day, NBA Insider Marc Stein reported that the Celtics were "monitoring" the Kelly Olynyk situation.
It's clear that Stevens still keeps his eye on players who left the Boston Celtics. At the same time, it's not like he does that strictly because they're former Celtics. He does that because he justifiably believes they can help. In Richardson's and Olynyk's case, it is easy to see why he would want them back because they're still productive players, and they've helped in the past. Would he feel the same way about Gallinari and Muscala? It's hard to say that he would with a straight face.
Looking back at their tenures with the Cs, they're probably not remembered nearly as fondly as Olynyk or Richardson. Gallinari never played a game for the Celtics, and Muscala sparsely played in the half-season he played for Boston last year. Their traditional stats from this season don't really help them out, either.
Gallinari is playing like a 35-year-old veteran coming off a second ACL tear in his left knee. Averaging seven points while shooting 43.5% from the field is not the worst production for an NBA player on the wrong side of thirty. However, Gallinari shooting 31% from three is pretty discouraging, knowing his reputation as a floor spacer. If that's not enough, he had been in the Wizards' doghouse since December 26 before the trade. Muscala's case is even worse than Gallinari's.
Muscala has stayed in the NBA largely because of his reputation as a stretch big. That did not keep up in Washington, as he shot 27.5% from three, a far cry from the 39.1% he shot with OKC and Boston last season. While Muscala had been featured more than Gallinari towards the end of their time in Washington, his numbers of four points and 3.1 rebounds a game do not scream "needle mover."
So, after all that, why is it worth considering bringing those two back? First of all, knowing how the Wizards' season is going, how seriously can we take Gallo's or Moose's numbers? Everyone knew the Wizards were starting a new chapter in their franchise, so of course, there's very little use for veterans like Gallinari and Muscala on that roster. It wouldn't be ridiculous to suggest that their numbers could have been a little skewed by the situation. It's also definitely possible that a change of scenery would improve their efficiencies just a tad. Especially if they're playing for a winner.
Second, it's not like the Celtics will have a plethora of options out in the open for them as trade and buyout season approaches. Having crossed the NBA's second tax apron, the Celtics are pretty limited in what they can do. They're not trading any of their players who are being paid eight figures, and Payton Pritchard has a poison pill contract. Also, there surely will be better players available, but the odds that the Celtics can get them are pretty low compared to what other teams can. Gallinari and Muscala are likely to be the best the Celtics can do.
Third, Gallinari and Muscala wouldn't really have pivotal roles were they to re-join the Celtics. Boston;s rotation is perfectly fine the way it is. Optimistically, Gallinari and Muscala would have bigger roles than, say, Oshae Brissett, but not as big as Luke Kornet. They would be reinforcements in the rotation instead of upgrades. The Celtics aren't in dire need of either of them at the moment. Adding them back would be more of a convenience than a necessity.
In the end, those two getting traded again may ultimately mean nothing to the Celtics for this season. But if they appear on the Celtics' radar again, bringing them back wouldn't hurt anything. When it comes to the prospect of adding Danilo Gallinari and/or Mike Muscala, the Boston Celtics' mindset should be, "Eh. Why not?"