Boston Celtics: How Cs can take advantage of Grizzlies fire sale
With the conclusion of the NBA finals, the NBA offseason has begun in full swing, and the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies have headed it off, swapping picks and veterans. The Grizzlies took on Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe’s unattractive contracts in exchange for New Orleans’ 10th and 51st pick. At the same time, the Pelicans received Jonas Valanciunas, the 17th pick, the 50th pick, and a protected 2022 first-round pick from the Lakers. Overall, the deal was pretty even, and both clubs benefited from what they got, but the important takeaway from the trade for the Boston Celtics lies within the details.
The Grizzlies are in a tough spot. They have Ja Morant, who looks to be on All-NBA trajectory, and Jaren Jackson Jr, who has shown flashes of All-time two-way dominance but can’t stay healthy, as their foundation pieces.
Outside of them, Memphis has done a great job plucking role players out of the late first-early second-round and finding good players that are being misused, like DeAnthony Melton. They have a solid core, but even they know it’s destined for mediocrity as their rivals load up on generational talents and surround those talents with marquee-free agents.
As a small market, the Grizzlies need to grow through the draft and through the trade markets, which means during summers like these, they are particularly active.
There’s no way of knowing who the Grizzlies will take with the 10th pick, but what we do know is they have a stacked frontcourt. Between Steven Adams, Xavier Tillman, Jaren Jackson Jr, and Kyle Anderson, the Grizzlies have more depth than they might like, which means they will be looking to sell on the outlier.
That would be Anderson, who is on an expiring deal this season and does not fit the Grizzlies’ timeline. Since Memphis capitalized on Valanciunas’ expiring contract by moving up in the draft, it’s safe to assume they’ll be looking to cash in on Anderson before he walks for nothing next summer.
Enter the Boston Celtics. Since Marcus Morris’ departure, the Cs have lacked a versatile presence in their power forward rotation. Although Grant Williams did a good job providing that his rookie year and Jabari Parker may be able to do so, Brad Stevens needs to make an effort to secure a better backup for his best player if the Boston Celtics are to contend for Banner #18.
Kyle Anderson fits like a glove in Beantown, and the Boston Celtics need to hunt him down before another contender trades for him.
Anderson is a 27-year-old 6’9 power forward with a 7’3 wingspan that just had the best season of his career with Memphis. He’s painfully slow, but he’s incredibly balanced, and his lack of burst allows him to do things most guys his size can’t.
Anderson has exceptional touch and vision for someone his size, and his height combined with his reduced speed allows him to pick apart defenses and make more concise decisions under pressure.
He’s a solid outside shooter, cashing 36% of his 261 3-pointers, and he’s a very versatile team defender. His skill sets would fit very nicely off the bench.
What’s most important about Anderson is his contract. He is set to make $9.7 million in 2021-22 then will become a free agent. Given his abilities, that is an absolute steal and a contract the Boston Celtics should covet. Not only can they match it with Tristan Thompson’s contract, but they also free up approximately $10 million for next summer when they go for a superstar free agent.
Anderson has the talent, is cheap, and has experience with Ime Udoka back in his San Antonio Spurs days. It’s a no-brainer. If the Grizzlies are looking to capitalize on Anderson’s expiring deal, the Boston Celtics must get him on the next flight to Boston.