Boston may have won by not losing AD, but might pay with picks
While the biggest concern for the Boston Celtics on the last legal day to make trades in the NBA was to not lose the Anthony Davis trade sweepstakes, they may have to accept it coming at the cost of one or more picks to use in such a deal.
On days like yesterday, you control the things you can, and hope for the best for the rest, and when it comes for the teams who have picks in this year's draft potentially controlled by the Celtics, well, they definitely fall in the latter category.
Boston has the rights to picks originally belonging to the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, and Sacramento Kings should they fall outside the range of protections each has in addition their own first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, all of which might be used as sweeteners to avoid giving up as many known factors in the shape of already-drafted players currently on the roster in any Anthony Davis deal that may go down this summer.
The Clippers pick, lottery protected this and next year, will turn into a second-round pick in 2021 should Los Angeles miss the playoffs in this or next season. With big cap space aspirations for the coming year, the pick will probably convey as a first after next season, but after early moves signaled a teardown might be on tap, it looked like the pick was off the table this season.
This makes the Clippers better and that's good news for the Celtics. Boston needs them to make the Playoffs for the pick to convey. https://t.co/3UXda9BLsv— Jonesy (@JonesyNBA) February 7, 2019
Closer analysis suggests this may not actually be the case, though, as the team ditching former Celtic Avery Bradley for JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple is actually going to help their still relatively good-if-not-great roster a boost, as could trading Mike Muscala for Michael Beasley and Ivica Zubac.
Selling on Tobias Harris was a reasonable hint a tank job might be in the works, but the Clips have a surprising deep bench to offset their ho-hum starters - and if they do make the playoffs, there's a good chance it'll be at the expense of their arena-mates, the Los Angeles Lakers, a solid backup prize for Boston fans.
This has ramifications for the Grizzlies 1st round pick the Celtics own. The pick is top-8 protected in 2019 so Memphis will likely retain it. That's beneficial to Boston: The pick is top-6 protected in 2020. If it doesn't convey to Boston in 2020, it becomes unprotected in 2021. https://t.co/78992MZV4D— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) January 22, 2019
The Grizzlies pick, top-eight protected this year and top-six the next, may actually be better to not convey this season, widely panned as a not-especially deep draft compared to next - and if the league does away with one-and-done for the 2021 NBA Draft, it could become one of the more valuable assets in the league.
After dealing away big man Marc Gasol along with a fair amount of their depth, the Mike Conley-led squad could conceivably end up in the 9-14 range by the end of the season depending on which teams go all-in on tanking as well now that the deadline has come and gone, but chances are this one won't be coming to Boston until next season at soonest.
Lakers fans are obviously big Kings fans. Every Kings win hurts Boston's pick they own. Currently 14.— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) February 6, 2019
Clippers Tobais Harris trade helps Boston. if LAC tanks, it helps pick Celtics own. Currently 18. pic.twitter.com/Ld7RpphIRX
Finally, while the Kings pick may be all but certain to convey (it would only be lost if Sacramento ends up with the top overall pick, almost impossible given their recent success and trade deadline fortifications, in which case it would convey to the Philadelphia 76ers), it probably will be nothing close to what Boston fans were hoping for, as the selection would fall around the end of the lottery if the season ended today.
It's a safe bet Boston will have two picks in this year's draft to use or move in pursuit of The Brow, and a decent chance at three. It'd take the luck of the Irish to pull off four, though, so let's hope three is the lucky number all around no matter the direction Danny Ainge et al take.
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