Miami Heat

NBA rumors: How Grizzlies-Heat trade impacts Celtics' 2020 Memphis draft pick

NBA rumors: How Grizzlies-Heat trade impacts Celtics' 2020 Memphis draft pick

The Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies reportedly have agreed to a six-player deal just a few hours before Thursday's NBA trade deadline, and even though this transaction doesn't include the Boston Celtics, it will still impact them.

First, let's take a look at the players involved in the trade, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Celtics, as you've likely heard, own the Grizzlies' 2020 first-round draft pick if it lands outside the top six. If the pick is in the top six, Boston will receive Memphis' unprotected 2021 first-rounder. 

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The Grizzlies enter Thursday's games in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings with a 3-game lead over the ninth-place Portland Trail Blazers. If the Grizzlies make the playoffs, the Celtics are guaranteed to get their 2020 first-round selection. If Memphis falls just short of the playoffs, it would need a draft lottery miracle to move up into the top three and force Boston to wait another year. 

So, how does this trade impact the C's? 

In the short term, this trade could make the Grizzlies worse, which could help the Celtics' chances of landing a pick a little higher in the lottery.

Justise Winslow is the best player the Grizzlies are getting in this trade with Miami, but his injury history is very much a concern. He's missed 136 games since 2015-16, and he's played in only 11 games this season. Winslow, when healthy, is a good 3-and-D option who can defend multiple positions. His last appearance for the Heat was Jan. 8, however, and if he doesn't play much for the Grizzlies, it hurts their depth.

Dion Waiters has the ability to score points in bunches off the bench, but he's a poor defensive player and hasn't been able to stay on the floor consistently over the last few seasons. Waiters hasn't played more than 46 games in a single season since the 2015-16 campaign. 

James Johnson shouldn't move the needle much for Memphis. The 32-year-old forward is averaging just 5.7 points per game this season.

Losing Crowder, a good 3-and-D player who defends quite well, is a genuine loss for the Grizzlies. He also brought valuable toughness and playoff experience to a young Grizzlies team. The departure of veteran guard Solomon Hill isn't a huge blow to the Grizzlies, although he is shooting an impressive 38.1 percent from 3-point range.

The best-case scenario for the Celtics is the Grizzlies falling out of a playoff spot and their pick landing in the lottery around No. 13 or No. 14 overall. It's hard to imagine the Grizzlies falling below the No. 10 spot in the Western Conference. The difference between the Grizzlies and the 11th-place New Orleans Pelicans is six games entering Thursday, and that's a lot of ground to make up.

Overall, this was a pretty even trade for the Heat and Grizzlies, although it does have the potential to make Memphis slightly worse this season given the uncertainty between Winslow and Waiters. So, the Celtics could benefit a little bit by this trade, and it's important to remember that moving up or down even by just one spot in the lottery can make a huge difference. The C's had the No. 14 pick in last year's draft and missed Kentucky sharpshooter Tyler Herro by one spot when Miami took him 13th overall.

Forsberg: C's have limited need for pre-deadline move

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.

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.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

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.

Celtics' Marcus Smart again comes up with 'unbelievable' key plays late that shouldn't be overlooked

Celtics' Marcus Smart again comes up with 'unbelievable' key plays late that shouldn't be overlooked

MIAMI — Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Marcus Smart labors through a rough shooting night and is uncharacteristically sloppy handling the ball for the better part of three quarters. Then, crunch time rolls around and Marcus Smart morphs into the most valuable player on the court.

It’s a tale as old as time. But it played itself out again on Tuesday night in Miami. Smart missed nine of his first 10 shots and matched his season-high with four turnovers.

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Still, with the game in the balance, Smart did Smart things. Like calmly knocking down a straightaway 3-pointer with 1:50 remaining on a kick out from Kemba Walker. Like swatting down what should have been an easy Bam Adebayo dunk a short time later. Like flinging himself into a trio of baby-blue jerseys and out-jumping the springy Adebayo for an impossible offensive rebound in the final minute.

A cursory glance at the box score will have most dismissing Smart’s night. He finished with 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting — missing all five of his shots inside the arc and five more of eight beyond it — with the four turnovers. 

But he balanced it out with eight rebounds, four assists, and three blocks in 36:29. All while being absolutely everywhere down the stretch as the Celtics picked up one of their best road wins of the season in Miami.

What was going through Smart’s mind late in the game?

“Win,” said Smart. "To me, it’s just what can I do to help my team? And, [on the offensive rebound], I saw a loose ball. I just thought, first one to get it, whatever happens, happens.

"I’m in the air, so I was hoping I didn’t get flipped or get hit in the face like I usually do. But you can’t think of that in the moment. You gotta go, and go hit the ball. First person to the floor, first person to the ball wins.”

Walker marveled at the way Smart makes all the key plays in high-pressure situations.

"Man, that dude. I love that dude,” said Walker. "I love his passion for the game. I love his energy. I love how he competes each and every night. He makes me want to compete just like him.

"He’s just so tough. He’s not scared of the moment. He made so many huge plays down the stretch. I know everybody will probably say the 3 that he made, but Adebayo had an open basket, he blocked his shot. I missed a shot, he got a huge [rebound]. He’s unbelievable. Unbelievable.”

Smart seemed smitten to learn of Walker’s praise. He noted it carries additional heft because of Walker’s All-Star status and the intensity that Walker brings to the floor.

“It’s a great feeling. I love Kemba, that’s my brother,” said Smart. “Just like all these guys in this locker room. But to hear somebody of his caliber just really really really give you praise and the recognition that you probably never get, it means a lot.”

Smart said he couldn’t allow missed shots to impact his energy. In fact, the missed shots only caused him to lock in a bit more defensively and find other ways to impact the game.

And all the struggles of the first 46 minutes will be forgotten because of his efforts in the last two.

“Continue to do what I normally do. I don’t really let shots not falling affect how I play, energy-wise,” said Smart. “Times like that, when your shot's not falling, your defense has to be at an all-time high. So, for me, just making sure guys are in the right spots on the defensive end and just really really really getting guys like [Jaylen Brown] and Gordon [Hayward] — they were the hot guys tonight, so we were trying to find them as much as we can.”

Still, teammates marvel at the way Smart can just take over a game with nothing more than grit and desire.

“Getting that tip-out…when he tipped it out and we were able to shoot free throws, that was a big momentum play, a huge play, at the end of the game,” said Grant Williams, who has affectionately dubbed himself a "Smart Mini-Me” and left a similar energy-filled stamp on the game Tuesday night. Williams noted that Smart’s play undoubtedly rubs off on the rest of the team.

Said Williams: “Just following his lead.”

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Warriors-Celtics, which begins Thursday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.