Why The Xavier Tillman – Celtics Trade Was An Incredible & Low-Risk Move For Boston


The Boston Celtics have made a savvy move ahead of the trade deadline by acquiring Xavier Tillman from the Memphis Grizzlies for two second-round picks and Lamar Stevens. Tillman is a versatile big man who can provide depth, defense, and rebounding for the Celtics, who are looking to contend for the NBA title.

Tillman, who is only 25 years old, has shown promise in his two seasons with the Grizzlies. He averaged 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game this season, and is also ranked in the top 10 among all NBA players in defensive rating, defensive win shares, and defensive box plus/minus.

Tillman’s skill set fits well with the Celtics, who have been searching for a reliable backup center behind Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford. Tillman can play both the four and the five, and he can switch on multiple positions on defense. He is also a capable passer and screener, who can facilitate the offense for the Celtics’ star wings, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

The Celtics did not give up much to get Tillman, who is on a team-friendly contract that pays him $2.1 million this season and who will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason (the Celtics inherit his bird rights as part of the deal).

The two second-round picks they sent to the Grizzlies are likely to be in the late 50s, and Stevens was a fringe rotation player who did not have a guaranteed spot on the roster. The Celtics also created a trade exception worth $2.1 million in the deal, which they can use to acquire another player later.

The Xavier Tillman trade is a low-risk, high-reward move for the Celtics, who added a young and talented big man to their core without sacrificing any future assets or flexibility. Tillman could prove to be a valuable piece for the Celtics, who are aiming to make a deep playoff run.

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