The Boston Celtics got a bit of good news on Tuesday: According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Memphis Grizzlies are listening to offers on their two stars, Mike Conley and Marc Gasol.
The Grizzlies, of course, owe the Celtics their 2019 first-round pick top-eight protected, followed by a top-six protection in 2020 that converts to unprotected in 2021. If the Grizzlies get rid of Conley and Gasol, whom they reportedly have never shopped before this, they would go through an extended rebuild that would likely take them through the 2021 draft (and probably beyond).
A few quick notes:
– Gasol and Conley might not be particularly valuable trade chips, due to a few circumstances. Gasol is 33-years-old and would only really be valuable to a team hoping to compete for a championship now (most of whom have little cap space), and Conley has a massive max contract that runs through 2021.
– The timing makes a lot of sense. The Grizzlies have struggled immensely for an extended period of time and are unlikely to make the playoffs this year. They would do well to start building their team around Jaren Jackson Jr., who has shown a lot of promise in somewhat limited minutes.
– Per Wojnarowski, the Grizzlies are willing to hold on to both Conley and Gasol if they don’t get the desired package in return (which reportedly includes young talent, draft picks and salary cap relief).
– The Celtics would likely be looking at the Grizzlies’ pick as a trade chip, most notably for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis if he becomes available this offseason. Adding a high lottery pick like the Memphis selection to their trade package would increase its value immensely (and might help them keep other valuable assets out of the deal).
– In the event no trade for Davis happens, the Celtics would be well stocked for the future — slotting in a 2020 or 2021 prospect alongside Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and others would give the Celtics a powerful young core.
If nothing else, the presence of Conley and Gasol could make the NBA trade deadline a little more entertaining.