Trade: Celtics, Grizzles Pull Off Swap Just 24 Hours From Deadline

 The Boston Celtics don't need a lot to supplement their team heading down the stretch, but acquiring some depth around the edges was their goal heading towards Thursday's trade deadline, and today they've done that, trading two second-round picks for defensive strongman Xavier Tillman from the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies also get Lamar Stevens in the deal. 

Tillman, the 6'8", 245-pound power forward doesn't bring much offense, but of course, the Celtics don't really need that. But Tillman brings a ton of under-the-radar staunch defense:

In the final year of his rookie deal, the 25-year-old Tillman ranks in the 99th percentile among all defenders in the league in a metric called Estimated Plus Minus, as noted by Jay King in The Athletic, who also reports that Tillman is one of only 14 players in the NBA averaging at least one block and one steal per game. 

In 20.6 minutes per night with Memphis, Tillman was averaging six points and 4.6 boards, right around his four-year averages since coming into the league as a second-round pick of the Sacramento Kings in the 2020 NBA Draft. 

Also, Tillman has proven he can trash-talk it with Kyrie Irving. 

Some are surprised that the Grizzles didn't try to extend Tillman for next season and beyond, after trading away the size of Steven Adams in the frontcourt. Now Boston holds his bird rights, and can sign him this offseason. 

Photo: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports