Breaking News: After acquisition of  Xavier Tillman, the Celtics may have an epic trade deadline

The Boston Celtics made a significant move at the trade deadline with the acquisition of Xavier Tillman from the Memphis Grizzlies on February 7. While Tillman’s debut is anticipated on February 9 against the Wizards, the noteworthy aspect isn’t just the frontcourt improvement but the strategic maneuvering that didn’t compromise other avenues for team enhancement.

Initial speculation suggested the use of the $6.2 million Grant Williams trade exception in acquiring Tillman, potentially filling the last roster spot and limiting trade assets. However, a report by Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer clarified that the Celtics exchanged Stevens for Tillman, preserving the exception and maintaining an available roster spot.

This move hints at the Celtics having additional plans. Instead of listing potential targets, considering the trade market’s current dynamics raises curiosity about Boston’s next steps. Fischer’s report on February 6 linked the Celtics to veterans Otto Porter Jr. and Lonnie Walker, presenting the possibility of a three-way deal with the Raptors and Nets.

In this scenario, the Celtics could acquire both Porter and Walker seamlessly by utilizing trade exceptions and potentially involve end-of-the-bench players in the deals. Delon Wright is another reported target, offering further flexibility.

A noteworthy detail is the Celtics’ ability to legally acquire players up to $100K more than the $6.2 million exception, making Porter feasible. However, this rule prevents acquiring someone like Danilo Gallinari, who exceeds the exception amount. Yet, a unique twist suggests the Celtics could legally obtain Gallinari by acquiring Porter and re-routing him to Detroit.

While acquiring Porter may be feasible, his injury history prompts considerations of using him as a valuable asset in potential salary-matching deals. Speculatively, the Celtics could conclude the trade deadline with Walker, Wright, and Gallinari, showcasing Brad Stevens’ propensity for strategic moves, as seen in his previous years as GM, revamping the bench in 2022 and addressing frontcourt depth in 2023. While acquiring Tillman is significant, hints suggest the Celtics may aim for more impactful moves before the deadline.


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