Celtics Acquire Xavier Tillman From Grizzlies

6:06pm: The trade is official, the Celtics announced (via Twitter).

2:09pm: The Celtics will send forward Lamar Stevens to Grizzlies in the deal, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

That means Boston will maintain an open spot on its 15-man roster and won’t have to use an existing trade exception to take on Tillman. The C’s will also generate a small amount of tax savings, notes cap expert Yossi Gozlan (Twitter link).

Stevens, who is on a one-year, minimum-salary contract could immediately see rotation minutes for the injury-plagued Grizzlies. He appeared in just 19 games for Boston, averaging 2.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per contest.

1:36pm: The Grizzlies have agreed to trade big man Xavier Tillman to the Celtics, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), Memphis will receive a pair of future second-round draft picks from Boston in the deal: Atlanta’s 2027 second-rounder and Dallas’ 2030 second-rounder.

Tillman is in his fourth NBA season and has appeared in 207 total regular season games for Memphis since being drafted 35th overall in 2020.

He’s having a down year for the struggling Grizzlies in 2023/24, shooting a career-worst 40.8% from the field, but has been a reliable depth piece in the past, averaging 6.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 17.1 minutes per game with a .552 FG% in his first three seasons. He’s also a stout, versatile defender.

Tillman emerged as a trade candidate this season because he’s in the final year of his contract and didn’t project to be part of the Grizzlies’ future plans — he hadn’t signed a new deal with the club despite having been extension-eligible for the past two seasons.

Having fallen out of postseason contention this year, Memphis opted to get what it could for the 25-year-old, adding a couple second-round picks to its collection of draft assets after acquiring three second-rounders for Steven Adams last week.

The Celtics, meanwhile, will add frontcourt depth behind primary big men Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford. Luke Kornet and two-way player Neemias Queta have given Boston some solid minutes this season, but the team wanted to add another body up front for insurance purposes, especially since Porzingis and Horford have missed several games. Porzingis has dealt with minor health issues, while Horford has been held out of one half of all the club’s back-to-back sets.

The Celtics have an open spot on their 15-man roster, so they won’t have to cut anyone to take on Tillman. They also don’t necessarily have to send out any matching salary, even though the big man’s minimum-salary contract can’t be acquired using the minimum salary exception, since they have a traded player exception available to accommodate the incoming cap figure.

An extension is no longer a viable option for Tillman due to extend-and-trade limitations, so he’ll remain on track to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Boston will hold his Bird rights at that time, allowing the team to re-sign him without requiring cap space.

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