Justise Winslow

How the Andre Iguodala, Justise Winslow deal impacts the Celtics

How the Andre Iguodala, Justise Winslow deal impacts the Celtics

The Boston Celtics haven't yet made a move ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline, but some of the bigger trade dominoes have started to fall.

And one of the most recent deals could have a big impact on the C's.

On Wednesday night, the Memphis Grizzlies agreed to a deal that will send Andre Iguodala to the Miami Heat, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Heat, in turn, will send Justise Winslow to the Grizzlies as "part of the package" to acquire Iguodala.

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As NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg points out, this deal will impact the the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, especially if Iguodala can get back into game shape quickly enough.

Assuming the 36-year-old Iguodala can shake the rust from his long layoff — remember, he hasn’t played a real basketball game since June 13 and Game 6 of the NBA Finals — then the Heat are adding a veteran player with championship experience and someone that can further help Jimmy Butler bring along Miami’s young core.

The No. 2 spot in the East is valuable real estate because it means likely avoiding a team like Indiana or Philadelphia in a first-round matchup. The Celtics, Heat, and Raptors are set to jockey for those spots over the final two months of the regular season.

Yet it's not just Miami's addition that hurts the C's. They also have a vested interest in Memphis' success, as the Celtics own their 2020 first-round pick, and it's only top-6 protected.

As Forsberg points out, the Grizzlies are basically performing addition by subtraction, as Iguodala wasn't even playing for the Grizzlies before being traded.

Memphis,  meanwhile, adds a nice player — one that Danny Ainge famously lusted over in the 2015 draft — that can further aid their own playoff quest. Remember, Iguodala wasn’t playing and, when healthy, Winslow is a versatile forward who complements the Grizzlies’ young core.

The Memphis pick, top-6 protected but slotted at No. 17 entering the night, could slide even deeper in the draft and it might be just another nudge for Ainge to cash out if there’s an intriguing deal available before Thursday’s deadline.

It's too early to judge the real impact of this trade, but it certainly seems like both teams got better, which is bad news for the Celtics. The Heat got a rugged, veteran defender for their squad while the Grizzlies got something for nothing and should be better off for it.

We'll see if the Celtics make a move to counteract the Heat's move ahead of the deadline. Or maybe the C's will be more willing to deal the Memphis pick with the upstart Grizzlies continuing to look like a legitimate playoff team.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of the NBA trade deadline. This Thursday at 2:30 p.m., stream the 2020 NBA Trade Deadline Show on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBoston.com. Then at 7 p.m., tune into our Celtics Trade Deadline Special.

Hornets likely moving on from former 2015 No. 9 pick Frank Kaminsky, a pick tied to the C's

Hornets likely moving on from former 2015 No. 9 pick Frank Kaminsky, a pick tied to the C's

During the 2015 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics desperately wanted to move up. Armed with plenty of draft capital over the course of the next few drafts, Danny Ainge and the Celtics reportedly tried to move up into the top 10. Their target in that class? Duke's Justise Winslow.

One of the teams that the Celtics engaged in trade talks with was the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets had the No. 9 pick and per Chris Forsberg (then with ESPN, now with NBC Sports Boston), the Celtics offered as many as six draft picks and four first-round picks to move up and get Winslow.

The Hornets declined. Instead, they took Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky. And four years later, they are likely regretting that decision.

Per Rod Boone of The Athletic, the Hornets are choosing not to extend a qualifying offer to Kaminsky after four seasons with the team.

Kaminsky's departure does have a minor effect on the Hornets' cap space, but the team has only $5 million in practical cap space without Kaminsky, and that's without re-signing either Kemba Walker or Jeremy Lamb. So, it's still going to be hard for Charlotte to bring back Walker and improve the team around him.

And that's a positive for the Celtics, who are rumored to be the frontrunners for Walker's services at the moment.

During his time in Charlotte, Kaminsky averaged 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. He only has shot 42 percent (35 from behind the arc) during his career.

The player the Celtics would have picked, Winslow, has averaged 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting 43 percent from the field (37 from 3-point range) while playing with the Miami Heat. He has been solid, but his talent still pales in comparison to some of the other assets that that Celtics were able to unearth with their treasure trove of assets, including Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Safe to say, it's definitely a good thing for Boston that the Celtics-Hornets deal didn't end up coming to fruition.

What's next for C's after becoming frontrunners for Kemba?>>>

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Danny Ainge has established a good track record of getting the best player available

Danny Ainge has established a good track record of getting the best player available

The last couple of years have answered the question of whether Danny Ainge can draft. When making his first choice in 2016 and 2017, he was higher on his guy than most. In both cases, he was right. 

No major publication considered Jayson Tatum the best player last year; Ainge would have taken him No. 1 but was able to trade down because the Sixers were trading up for Markelle Fultz and the Lakers for some reason wanted to sign up for the Lonzo Ball life.

Jaylen Brown at No. 3 in 2016? You remember the boos, and you can understand why they happened. Fans were confused. If they'd been checking nbadraft.net like we all did, they expected him to be the ninth pick. 

Yet in both cases, Ainge and Co. were clearly right. Holding a high pick with no consensus option awaiting him, they wound up with the best player available. 

What's more impressive is that they've also done it later in the draft, and the further down the board you go to make your first pick, the easier it is to take a guy who won't amount to anything, let alone prove to be the best possible selection. 

That's what the Celtics did three years ago with Terry Rozier at No. 16. At the time, Bleacher Report Senior NBA writer Howard Beck deemed that selection the "biggest reach" of the draft; at the very least, the Celtics were heavily criticized for taking him where they did.

Go look at that draft and the players who were selected after Rozier. Would you rather any of those guys over Rozier? Maybe Josh Richardson? Maybe? Probably not, though? 

Now, here's where we need to note that the 2015 draft, for as good as it looks now for the Celtics, could have greatly derailed what's been an excellent rebuild. As the legend goes, Ainge intended to trade a whole lot to get from No. 16 to No. 9 in order to select Justise Winslow, who just had a worse third NBA season than Rozier. 

How badly did Ainge want to move up? According to ESPN's Chris Forsberg that summer, Ainge offered Charlotte "as many as six draft picks, including four potential first-round selections," only to have the deal rejected. Keep in mind that the Celtics still had three Brooklyn picks (which would turn into Brown, Tatum and Kyrie Irving) at that point. 

At any rate, the basketball gods saved Ainge from himself and he followed it up by making the right selection. The latter has happened three straight years now. 

Before that, the Celtics looked more human at the draft. Using 2010 as the cutoff (they didn't have a first-round pick in 2009, so 2010 seemed like a good place to keep it semi-recent), the Celtics have had their fair share of not-quite-misses-but-not-quite-home-runs. The Marcus Smart pick (No. 6 overall in 2014) could have been better spent on Dario Saric. Jared Sullinger (21st overall in 2012) could have instead been Draymond Green (No. 35). Three picks after the Celtics took JaJuan Johnson at 27 (via New Jersey), the Bulls took Jimmy Butler.

Of course, there's no more devastating "what if?" to play than looking back at 2013, when the Celtics got Kelly Olynyk at No. 13 (via Dallas), only to later learn they'd passed on the best player in that draft (Giannis Antetokounmpo). 

Yet that three-year run on not getting the best player has been sandwiched by stronger drafting. In 2010, the C's' selection over Avery Bradley at No. 19 proved to be the best pick they could have made. 

The Celtics are slotted to pick at No. 27 Thursday, a spot that promises very little, though they've got more than enough ammunition to move up. Even if they get whoever proves to be the best NBA player of the guys on the board, there's no promise that said player will have much of an NBA career. Their last three top picks have shown that if they do jump up, they'll get the right guy.