Thursday, February 8, 2024

Celtics reportedly trade for big man Xavier Tillman in deal with Grizzlies

With the trade deadline set for 3:00 pm ET today, the Celtics wasted no time in trying to improve their roster by adding some frontcourt depth Wednesday afternoon.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics have reportedly agreed to a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies for Xavier Tillman in return for two second-round picks. 

Yahoo! Sports' Jake Fischer later revealed that Lamar Stevens would be added to the deal for salary purposes. It's also been reported that the Celtics will send second-round picks in 2027 (from Atlanta) and 2030 (from Dallas). 

Considering Al Horford's age (37 years old), along with Kristaps Porzingis' injury history, Boston knew they needed to add some insurance in the frontcourt. With Luke Kornet and Neemias Queta as the only other bigs on the roster, the Celtics needed more experience off the bench.

In six games replacing the injured Steven Adams in last year's playoffs, Tillman averaged 8.7 points, 8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game in over 30 minutes per contest for Memphis. Adding a defensive-minded big to the rotation gives the Celtics a solid piece to their roster. Although he is a bit undersized as a 6-foot-7 power forward/center, he'll provide the team with some strong defense off the bench–averaging 1.0 blocks and 1.2 steals per game so far this season.

Tillman is on an expiring $1.9 million contract but can be retained in the offseason as Boston inherited his Bird rights in the deal. By including Stevens in the trade ($2.1 million salary), the Celtics will retain the Grant Williams $6.2 million Traded Player Exception which signals Brad Stevens could have some more moves ahead of Thursday's deadline in mind.

However, per a Fischer report -- as of this morning, the "Celtics may be done" making any more trades before 3:00 pm today. Meanwhile, in the East teams like the Knicks and 76ers have already added shooting to their respective rosters, as the Bucks haven't pulled the trigger on any moves thus far.

Despite sending two second-round picks to the Grizzlies, Boston still owns six future second-round picks (including two 2024 second-rounders), along with three future first-rounders they could package in any potential deal. With aspirations of winning a title this season, the Celtics will continue to monitor the trade market for players that will fill out their rotation -- as they also have an open roster spot.

Ian Carrano

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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