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Bucks, Celtics Add Depth Following Trades with Trail Blazers

The Eastern Conference rivals made some minor moves to shore up their benches.

2023 NBA Playoffs - Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics, the top two seeds in the NBA Eastern Conference a season ago, have added to their reserve units with new free agent acquisitions.

In the aftermath of making major trades with the Portland Trail Blazers, the Bucks are signing free agent point guard Cameron Payne to a one-year, veteran minimum deal, while the Celtics are adding Wenyen Gabriel to their frontcourt, according to Shams Charania of the Athletic.

Payne, 29, emerged as a key bench piece with the Phoenix Suns under head coach Monty Williams, backing up star point guard Chris Paul. He established himself as an assertive playmaker behind 9.8 points, 4.3 assists and only 1.5 turnovers per night over four seasons with Phoenix.

On the heels of Milwaukee reshuffling their deck to acquire All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard in a trade that sent out starting point guard Jrue Holiday and guard Grayson Allen, Payne figures to receive solid minutes off the bench in a thin backcourt rotation.

Gabriel, 26, will back up Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford in Boston. Gabriel appeared in 19 games for the Trail Blazers in the 2019-20 season, receiving rotation minutes during the Blazers’ first round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA Bubble. Last season, Gabriel scored 5.5 points on 59.6% shooting from the field, to go along with 4.2 rebounds in 15.1 minutes of play for the Lakers. After Boston traded defensive-minded center Robert Williams III to Portland in a play for Holiday, the Celtics needed more front-court depth

Further details on how much Gabriel will earn have yet to be released.