Boston Celtics

Celtics acquire Xavier Tillman in trade with Grizzlies

Tillman is a nice pickup for Boston at a relatively low cost.

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The Boston Celtics aren't waiting until NBA trade deadline day to bolster their roster.

The Celtics acquired big man Xavier Tillman in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, the team announced on Wednesday.

Here are the terms of the deal:

  • Celtics receive: Xavier Tillman
  • Grizzlies receive: Lamar Stevens, Celtics' 2027 second-round pick (via Atlanta), Celtics' 2030 second-round pick (via Dallas)

Tillman is a solid addition for the Celtics. The 25-year-old was averaging 6.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game while playing just 20.6 minutes per night in Memphis and is a solid defender at 6-foot-8, 245 pounds. He gives Boston additional frontcourt depth behind Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford alongside Luke Kornet and two-way big man Neemias Queta.

The Michigan State product isn't the most gifted offensive player -- he's shooting 40.8 percent from the floor and 22.6 percent from 3-point range this season -- but he played some of his best basketball during the 2023 postseason, averaging 8.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists over 30.6 minutes per game in Memphis' first-round series loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

By including Stevens in the deal, the Celtics will preserve their $6.2 million traded player exception for Grant Williams, which president of basketball operations Brad Stevens could use to acquire additional talent before Thursday's deadline. Stevens is making $2.1 million this season, while Tillman is earning $1.9 million on the final year of his contract.

Stevens appeared in just 19 games for Boston this season after signing with the Celtics in September. He averaged 2.8 points over 6.4 minutes per contest.

The Celtics enter Wednesday's matchup against the Atlanta Hawks with the NBA's best record at 38-12, but this move is a sign that Stevens is still looking for ways to improve the roster with Banner 18 as the ultimate goal.

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