The Wizards and the Celtics can both lay claim to being the hottest teams in the NBA at the All-Star break. Both teams are climbing up the Eastern Conference table, making a Kevin Love-less Cleveland Cavaliers look less inevitable for the first time since LeBron James returned. A lot of what the Celtics and Wizards are displaying is chemistry — a hard-won balance that has let their stars, especially point guards Isaiah Thomas and John Wall, thrive. Quick question: is their current great play going to get in the way of their ultimate goals? Trade rumors have the Lakers’ Lou Williams on the Wizards radar and Jimmy Butler in the Celtics sights.
Those acquisitions make the Wizards and the Celtics better on paper — but does it make them better on the court? Williams is a reserve who can score at will some nights. It’s hard to see how he doesn’t contribute without stealing chemistry from Washington. Especially since the Wizards only give up picks for him. But Butler is a star — a franchise guy — and he changes the Celtics chemistry much more profoundly. Still it’s hard to see how Butler — one of those NBA stars like Kawhi Leonard who also defends — isn’t ultimately an asset no matter who the Celtics must part with. But chemistry — it’s a delicate thing. The Celtics have won 9 of their last 11 and are just 3 games off the Cavaliers’ lead.