One big trade chip throughout NBA Trade season has always been future draft picks. For the Boston Celtics this year, they hold the rights to three selections, including their own, in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft.
Among the most uncertain yet sought-after selections is the Memphis Grizzlies first-round pick. Boston acquired the pick during their 2014-15 season in which several different deals were made. The Celtics sent Jeff Green to the Grizzlies as part of a three-team deal also including New Orleans. In return, Boston received the future pick from the Grizzlies, meant for the 2019 draft though with the top-eight protection it was retained by Memphis and used to pick Ja Morant.
Boston also received Austin Rivers and Tayshaun Prince in the deal. Rivers never played a game for Boston and was flipped three days later to reunite with his father in Los Angeles while Prince spent a month in Boston before a return to Detroit.
Now, Boston only has the Grizzlies pick left from that deal. And with the 2020 Trade Deadline approaching fast, it may be worth shopping the pick even if Boston could get to use it.
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Who Could the Celtics Potentially Take with the Pick?
With Memphis currently sitting at 24-24 occupying the final playoff position in the Western Conference, Boston is likely to get this selection in 2020. Even if the Grizzlies narrowly miss the playoffs, the likelihood of them falling into the top-6 seems slim barring any type of tanking or collapse.
The pick could fall somewhere between 14th and 17th overall, Boston may be in line to get a talented young center or power forward to add some height to the roster.
A few options for rebounding might be Washington freshman Isaiah Stewart if it falls just inside the lottery or someone like Arizona freshman Zeke Nnaji or USC freshman Onyeka Okongwu if Memphis makes the playoffs.
As a benchmark, the Celtics have taken players in this range before and experience varied success. Last year, Boston took Romeo Langford at 14th overall, Guerschon Yabusele 16th overall in 2016, Terry Rozier 16th overall in 2015, and swung a deal for Kelly Olynyk in 2013 — two picks before Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Likelihood of a Trade
Boston is in the market for a rim-protector and rebounder off the bench and may value someone like Robert Williams or Semi Ojeleye too much to swing in a trade.
Boston has been in the conversation for a deal with Oklahoma City in exchange for Nerlens Noel. The Celtics have very little cap space to work with and aren’t in the market for any players with big contracts, making Noel, a Boston-native, a good fit.
Another option includes packaging the pick in a deal along with someone like Williams. That could depend on how Memphis plays over the next week leading up to the deadline as the Celtics gauge where that selection may fall. But if Boston is to make any sort of deal this deadline, that Memphis pick will absolutely be mentioned in negotiations.