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Despite the restrictions that come with being over the second apron and not wanting to part with any of their rotation fixtures, the Boston Celtics managed to address their primary target before Thursday's trade deadline passed, acquiring Xavier Tillman from the Memphis Grizzlies a day in advance.

That upgrades the C's options behind Al Horford and Kristaps Porzingis and gives head coach Joe Mazzulla a six-foot-eight, 245-pound high IQ individual who can operate alongside either one of the former two or function as a stand-alone big.

Boston also added a promising 21-year-old, who's under contract beyond this season, striking a deal with a rival franchise, the Philadelphia 76ers, for Jaden Springer.

The 28th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft is a defensive menace who repeatedly rewarded Philadelphia's trust for putting him on assignments like Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic. His playing style will quickly endear him to Celtics fans.

Boston also preserved an open roster spot, parting with Lamar Stevens and Dalano Banton to do so.

When asked about the team's plans regarding that vacancy, president of basketball operations Brad Stevens conveyed the following.

"I think we just have to see number one is if there's somebody that can again provide great depth for our group, but I don't anticipate a person that vaults into our every night rotation."

Danny Ainge's successor also expressed the following to Inside the Celtics regarding the possibility of converting Neemias Queta from a two-way to a full-time deal, an option that one would think took a hit after Boston added Tillman.

"I have, we have, to continue to evaluate everything for that last roster spot we have, but he's done a great job," stated Stevens.


Regardless of whether Boston converts Queta's contract, the third-year veteran has impressed with his impact as a screener, rim protector, and lob threat. The same goes for his contributions on the glass.

While he's only played 42 NBA games and logged 418 minutes, he's earned more opportunities to operate as the stand-alone big after playing almost exclusively alongside Al Horford.

Queta's ability to consistently maximize his minutes has earned praise from Stevens, his teammates, and the coaching staff, including for quickly picking up everything they're throwing at him.

But if the Celtics want to go in a different direction after acquiring Tillman, a potential option this author has noted multiple times is Otto Porter Jr.


The third overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft has played only 23 games since signing with the Raptors in the summer of 2022 due to injuries, but he contributed to the Golden State Warriors beating Boston in the 2022 NBA Finals.

Historically speaking, players added from the buyout market are low-impact players. Porter might not log a single minute for the Celtics in a playoff game, perhaps save for when Joe Mazzulla empties the bench at the end of a contest where the outcome's decided.

But he's been in the league for now over a decade. As a high-IQ veteran with championship experience that came against Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Co., the former Georgetown Hoya could add value.

Danilo Gallinari is another savvy veteran and is already on the buyout market.


Perhaps Gallinari will get the chance to do so this season.

The 35-year-old showed flashes in his six-game stint with the Detroit Pistons that will help his pursuit to latch on with a title contender. At six-foot-ten, he's always relied far more on touch and accuracy as a shooter and his intellect than on athleticism.

Gallinari averaged 8.7 points and drilled 58.3 percent of his two three-point attempts per contest while in the Motor City. But in 26 appearances with the Washington Wizards before getting traded to the Pistons, he shot 31.3 percent on 2.5 tries from beyond the arc.

Signing him is a feel-good story, and, like Porter, he can contribute without playing. But given the concerns about him defensively and how small his sample size was in Detroit, if Boston brings back Gallinari, keep expectations low for what he provides on the parquet.

Another potential option is Seth Curry. The six-foot-one guard went with Grant Williams from the Dallas Mavericks to the Charlotte Hornets, along with a first-round pick, in exchange for P.J. Washington.


The nine-year veteran has a $4 million pact for 2024-25 that becomes fully guaranteed one day before this June's NBA draft. That's another factor that could keep him in Charlotte.

But there is an option already on the buyout market that Tatum would greatly appreciate. The Brooklyn Nets and Harry Giles parted ways on Thursday.

The two friends and former collegiate teammates with the Duke Blue Devils would love to share an NBA locker room. And the Celtics did move on from Tatum's closest confidant on the C's, Grant Williams.

Boston hasn't brought Giles on board despite past opportunities, though. The 25-year-old averaged 3.4 points and 1.6 rebounds in 5.1 minutes in 16 appearances with the Nets this season.


There's also an individual who remains unsigned but has yet to announce his NBA career is over: Blake Griffin.

The six-time All-Star was a popular teammate in his lone campaign in Kelly Green. He also brings that veteran savvy the C's could emphasize when filling their roster vacancy.


The Celtics could also target a younger option they're interested in working with, much like when they signed Justin Champagnie last April.

But with Jordan Walsh and Springer under contract beyond the current campaign, and the 25-year-old Tillman a low-cost option to re-sign, having two, potentially three youthful contributors in the fold past this season could influence them opting for a veteran to fill their final roster spot if they choose to do so.

Further Reading

Brad Stevens Sheds Light on Celtics' Motivations for Xavier Tillman Trade

Celtics Swing Savvy Deal with 76ers for Jaden Springer

Celtics React to Xavier Tillman Trade: 'We Paid a Lot of Attention to Him'

Marcus Smart Shares How Boston Shaped Him, His Message to Celtics Fans

Jayson Tatum Shares What Went Through His Mind Seeing Celtics Fans Celebrate Marcus Smart

Celtics Maturation Molded by Experience: 'It Builds, Like, an Armor'

Celtics Finding Joy in Basketball and Each Other's Company: 'We've Been Blessed'

Fixated on Winning, Jayson Tatum Again Proves He's Not 'Bored Making the Right Play Over and Over'

Jaylen Brown Quieting Doubters, Validating What He Always Believed: 'Earn Everybody's Trust'

Joe Mazzulla Discusses Identity, Evolution of Celtics' Offense: 'Balance of Pace and Execution'

Jaylen Brown Shares His View of What Defines 'Celtics Basketball'