Joel Embiid Calls Out Bucks After Celtics NBA Finals Win

Joel Embiid

Getty Joel Embiid

The Boston Celtics took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Dallas Mavericks in the 2024 NBA Finals. With them on the verge of winning a title, Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid called out the Milwaukee Bucks for their part in the Celtics’ success.

When calling them out, Embiid asked, “Did the bucks give (the Celtics) the championship?” via his X account.

This is in reference to the Bucks trading Jrue Holiday to the Trail Blazers for Damian Lillard, which led to the Celtics acquiring him. Acquiring Holiday helped mitigate the Celtics losing Marcus Smart when they traded for Kristaps Porzingis. Much like Smart, Holiday gave them another playmaker along with excellent defense that Boston would not have had without him.

The Bucks didn’t directly contribute to the Celtics’ success. However, trading Holiday to a team that had no use for him opened the door for him to join a team with similar title aspirations. If it hadn’t been Boston, Holiday could have been traded to Miami or Philadelphia. That could have proved just as problematic.

With the Celtics as close as they are to winning another championship, Embiid asking if the Holiday trade pushed them over the hump is a good question worth pondering.

Are the Bucks to Blame for Boston’s Success?

Had they never traded for Jrue Holiday, the Celtics would have had some holes that would have been hard to fill. They would have still been a title contender, but they would have rolled the dice on multiple injury-prone players.

Before completing the Holiday trade, the Celtics would have had ex-Buck Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams III. Both of them are injury risks, as evidenced by their extensive history of missing long stretches of time. Adding Porzingis, who has a similar reputation, only made their foundation shakier. Holiday got rid of that risk on top of replacing what Smart once did for Boston.

That would not have been possible had the Bucks never given the Celtics the opportunity to get Holiday. In hindsight, they should have tried to work a multi-team deal that would have made sure Holiday landed with a team that wasn’t an Eastern Conference rival.

At the same time, the Bucks did not have much time to expand the Damian Lillard trade. The 2023-24 season was about to start, and they had little time to iron out the details of the deal. The Bucks may have helped the Celtics out by proxy, but they had a small window to get an efficient scorer to help their chances of winning another title.

Jrue Holiday May Win Second Title as Player

After acquiring him in 2020, Holiday played a huge role in the Bucks winning their first title since 1971 in 2021.

With the Celtics now up 3-0 on the Mavericks, Holiday’s legacy as a player may improve even further. If the Celtics finish off the Mavericks, he would prove himself as a valuable player on two separate title teams. Even if they don’t, Holiday has shown now that he can be a vital cog on multiple teams trying to win a championship.