ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the Boston Celtics have made a trade to acquire Memphis Grizzlies big man Xavier Tillman one day before the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline. For Tillman, the Celtics traded a 2027 second-round pick via the Atlanta Hawks and a 2030 second-round pick via the Dallas Mavericks. Additionally, the Celtics are also sending forward Lamar Stevens to the Grizzlies.

Earlier this week, reports suggested the Celtics had shown interest in other big men, such as Kelly Olynyk and Andre Drummond. Currently, it is likely, but not confirmed, that the Tillman trade will force the Celtics to drop out of those sweepstakes.

Per Jake Fischer, the Celtics “had been the team most connected to” the 25-year-old big man:

Boston had been the team most connected to Xavier Tillman, if he was unable to find an extension with Memphis.

After four seasons with the Grizzlies, Tillman’s rookie contract will expire at the end of the season. This likely played a major role in Memphis’ decision to trade him.

This season, Tillman is averaging 6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Additionally, the big man is shooting 40.8% from the field, including 22.6% from the three-point line.

Tillman figures to act as insurance behind Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford. Whether Tillman will overtake Luke Kornet and Neemias Queta in the rotation for the 38-12 Celtics remains to be seen.

NBA News: Boston Celtics Trade for Memphis Grizzlies Big Man

What Xavier Tillman Brings to Boston

Though he is capable of playing the center position pretty well, Tillman is a much better fit at the power forward spot at 6’8″. However, Tillman is a very tenacious and tough player, something the Celtics always value. Additionally, Tillman is a good rebounder, but he does not excel at grabbing boards. All that said, Tillman’s true value comes on the defensive end.

Tillman is a versatile defender who can guard in the paint and a bit on the perimeter. His playstyle should complement Porzingis and Horford, both guys who are more perimeter-oriented players for the Celtics.

The Last Word on the Xavier Tillman Trade

Considering the Celtics have limited trade assets and cap space, this seems like a fantastic move for the team. Acquiring Tillman strengthens their already elite defense. Plus, at 25 years old, Tillman can fit the team’s timeline if they extend him beyond this season. This trade seems like a very low-risk, high-reward move for the Celtics.

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