11 PPG Grizzlies big worth looking into if Boston Celtics don't retain Xavier Tillman: Analyst

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Three
Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Three / Harry How/GettyImages

If the Boston Celtics don't re-sign Xavier Tillman Sr. in the offseason, Heavy's Matt John believes the trade deadline acquisition's former Memphis Grizzlies teammate, Santi Aldama, might be worth looking into as a trade candidate.

"The Celtics already acquired one of Smart’s teammates in Memphis, Tillman, at the deadline," John prefaced before saying, "If Tillman leaves in the offseason, Aldama might be worth looking into."

Tillman is an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, and a Celtics championship would likely make it tougher to retain him for Brad Stevens and Co. Teams around the league would most certainly line up to poach any available talent from Boston's roster who'd have championship experience; even someone who isn't likely to play much -- though he will be in line for Luke Kornet's minutes after a calf injury may keep the seven-footer out of the rotation for a bit -- like Tillman.

Boston Celtics can do much better than Santi Aldama on trade market

Aldama was forced into a bigger role than was imagined of him during the 2023-24 season due to the unfortunately high number of injuries the Grizzlies suffered. Marcus Smart's several injuries were the toughest to stomach for Celtics fans, though most would agree that Ja Morant's season-ending shoulder injury that came nine games after his return from a 25-game suspension was probably the most tragic.

Rising to the occasion for an undermanned Memphis team, Aldama provided the Grizz a shade under 11 points and six rebounds, plus two assists per game from the frontcourt. Those were good numbers in a nutshell.

The Spanish forward's 35% conversion rate from the 3-point line left plenty to be desired though. And not for nothing, but Boston had a big with a similar shot profile in Mike Muscala that they kept on their roster for four months before shipping him away.

The Celtics can do better than Aldama at a similar price point. There's likely a rookie or G-League riser who can show out in Summer League that the Cs can get without giving up any assets like they'd have to cede for Aldama.