If the Grizzlies commit to rebuilding, the Celtics could wind up with a valuable trade asset, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. The Celtics are owed a future first-round pick from Memphis that will have declining protections over the next three seasons.
The selection, which was acquired in a three-team deal in 2015 that also involved the Pelicans, is top-eight protected this season, top-six protected in 2020 and completely unprotected in 2021. Memphis got off to a 12-5 start this year, but is just 7-23 since November 21 and has fallen to sixth in our latest Reverse Standings.
A report out of Memphis this week indicates that the organization is listening to trade offers involving veteran stars Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. If the Grizzlies launch a youth movement, the Celtics could end up with an asset similar to the 2018 Nets pick that they sent to Cleveland as part of the Kyrie Irving deal. It could give Boston an edge in the pursuit of Anthony Davis or any other elite player who might become available.
There’s more out of Boston:
- Several of Irving’s former teammates in Cleveland talked to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com about whether he might go back on his verbal commitment to re-sign with the Celtics this summer and if he might consider teaming up with LeBron James again as a Laker. “Anything is possible,” said Tristan Thompson. “One day he could wake up and think about it. Just the possibility for y’all to think about it. There’s a method to the madness.” However, a league sources tells Vardon that an L.A. reunion is unlikely because Irving hasn’t changed in his desire to be “the man” wherever he plays.
- Jay King of The Athletic examines the Celtics’ options at the trade deadline and how they could be impacted by free agency. Marcus Morris will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, Al Horford and Aron Baynes both have player options and Terry Rozier and Daniel Theis will be restricted. King states that management may check into offers for Rozier and Theis, but believes they will keep both as insurance in case someone gets hurt during the playoffs.
- King also considers whether the Celtics might try to get underneath the luxury tax this season, considering the sizable payments looming in the future. With the team projected to be about $3MM over the tax line, that would mean sending out Rozier’s contract in a salary dump, which King doesn’t expect to happen.
- Marcus Smart was fined $35K for charging after the Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry in an altercation in Saturday’s game, the league office announced.