Mikal Bridges trade, PG signing incorrectly advertised as deals that move Knicks, Sixers closer to Celtics

Do Mikal Bridges and Paul George really move the Knicks and Sixers, respectively, closer to the Celtics?
Do Mikal Bridges and Paul George really move the Knicks and Sixers, respectively, closer to the Celtics? / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

CBS Sports' Brad Botkin advertised the New York Knicks' Mikal Bridges trade and the Philadelphia 76ers' Paul George signing as moves that bridge the gap between the two Atlantic Division teams and the Boston Celtics.

Botkin ranked the Bridges trade, which saw the Knicks give up Bojan Bogdanovic, four unprotected first-round picks, a protected first-round pick, an unprotected pick swap and a second-rounder to land him, as the No. 1 move of the offseason.

George's signing with the Sixers was listed right behind it at No. 2.

Admitting Bridges isn't as good of a player as George overall, Botkin celebrated the defensive fit of Bridges as one that can elevate the Knicks to a level only the Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder can claim to occupy.

"He's not quite as good as Paul George, though it's closer than general perception might imagine -- but his fit with New York is so incredible that I can't put anyone else at the top of this list," Botkin wrote of Bridges.

"New York's defense goes to another level with Bridges and the resigning of OG Anunoby. Only Oklahoma City, which we'll get to shortly, can be mentioned with the likes of the Celtics and Knicks in terms of their perimeter defensive firepower, which you could argue has become the single-most important element of a championship blueprint."

As for George, Botkin believes he's the perfect malleable secondary/tertiary star to add to the 1-2 punch of Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey in the City of Brotherly Love.

"Like Bridges with the Knicks, you couldn't dream up a better basketball fit than George with the Sixers," Botkin prefaced before saying, "To be fair, George is one of those players who fits anywhere because of his ability to thrive both on and off the ball, his shooting and his defensive versatility, and with Philadelphia that is an unbelievable weapon to have as, on some nights, your third offensive option. George is not a 1A superstar. He is most valuable as the rarely overqualified wingman who functions fine in a slightly lesser role than his talent could command."

Do Mikal Bridges and Paul George really make the Knicks and Sixers, respectively, better than the Celtics? Probably not

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are still the two best players in a series between the Celtics and either the Knicks or Sixers. Philadelphia still doesn't have a former champion on their roster, and NY is living off the NCAA Championship of their core far more than OG Anunoby's 2019 title with the Toronto Raptors.

Boston is still the team to beat in the east and elsewhere. Bridges and George don't come close to moving the needle like the C's Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday acquisitions from the 2023 offseason.