NBA GM Reveals ‘Wild Card’ Why Celtics Unlikely To Trade By Deadline

Questions about the near future might explain the Boston Celtics’ caution in the present.

An NBA general manager told Forbes’ Sean Deveney last week, uncertainty over the Memphis Grizzlies’ first-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft is a primary reason why Boston is unlikely to make any deals by the Feb. 6 NBA trade deadline. The Grizzlies pick will transfer to the Celtics in 2020 if it falls outside the top-six spots and convey to Boston in 2021 with no protections if it doesn’t. Memphis’ surprisingly good, recent play has made gauging its value difficult for teams to gauge what the pick will be worth in June.

“They have been active in terms of seeing what is out there,” the unnamed NBA GM said. “I don’t think they want to sit on their hands. I am not sure how much they can realistically get done, though, because the Memphis pick is such a wildcard. They can’t do anything significant unless they move that pick.”

Most expected the Grizzlies to be comically bad in 2019-20, the first year of their rebuild, but they’ve won 10 of their last 12 games and currently sit in the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 19-22 record.

The Celtics have had high hopes for that Grizzlies pick since they acquired it in the 2015 Jeff Green trade. However, the Grizzlies now spark angst in Boston over claims of the declining value of their pick.

The Celtics were widely expected to pursue a trade for a center this season, but rumors of a potential deal for a big man have lost momentum amid the success Boston has enjoyed to date.

Thus another NBA trade deadline might come and go without the Celtics being major players in the dealing.