Let me stop you RIGHT THERE, Celtics fans.
It needs to be said. The Boston Celtics will not be trading for Mike Conley or Marc Gasol.
Both players make around max-money, requiring the Celtics to give up Al Horford, Gordon Hayward or Kyrie Irving for them. That isn’t going to happen mid-season.
Now that that’s done with, what does this mean for the Celtics, really?
Thanks to the Jeff Green trade from 2015, Boston owns the rights to the Grizzlies’ first round pick this year. Here are the protections on the pick:
2019: Celtics will receive the pick if it falls outside the top-8 picks
2020: Celtics get the pick if it falls outside the top-6 picks
2021: Celtics own Grizzlies’ unprotected first round pick
Memphis is currently 19-28, which is good for the sixth-worst record in the NBA. Winning more games to get outside the top-8 doesn’t seem possible without Gasol and Conley. There’s also a good chance the Grizzlies are bad enough next year not to yield the pick then either.
The most likely scenario might be the Celtics receiving the unprotected pick in 2021, which would be a really, really good thing.
Boston could own as many as four first round picks in the 2019 NBA Draft, so kicking one down the road could be beneficial to both their roster construction and potential trade packages.
Another important thing to note; 2021 most likely will be the year the NBA removes its age limit for the draft, causing a double draft. Where the best freshmen and best high school seniors are all in the same class. Whether the Celtics view it as a year to draft another talented youngster or include it in an Anthony Davis deal this summer, the options remain open.
So look out for the Grizzlies this year and next. My advice will be to root for Memphis to lose. If they do it enough the Celtics will have a pretty trade asset to waive in front of the Pelicans.