BOSTON (CBS) — While the Celtics sit out this deadline day, their competition in the Eastern Conference continues to make moves to improve their chances when the playoffs arrive.
The Toronto Raptors joined the deadline day madness about an hour before the 3 p.m. deadline, reportedly close to landing Memphis big man Marc Gasol.
The Grizzlies are in rebuild mode and made both Gasol and franchise point guard Mike Conley available in hopes of clearing some big money off their books. Gasol has a $25-million player option for next season, which he will likely pick up now that he’s on the contending Raptors.
Toronto sacrificed some depth with the move, but it also shows that they’re all-in this season and next as they try to convince Kawhi Leonard to sign long-term in the offseason. The 34-year-old Gasol is averaging 15.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest this season.
The Philadelphia 76ers made a big splash on Wednesday with their acquisition of Tobias Harris, and the Milwaukee Bucks added some depth by picking up Nikola Mirotic on Thursday. The Celtics are expected to have a quiet deadline day, as they wait for their chance to acquire New Orleans star Anthony Davis over the summer (as long as he isn’t dealt on Thursday, which is becoming more and more unlikely).
If anything, Danny Ainge is expected to make smaller moves to his roster, which likely won’t come until the buyout market opens for business in the next few weeks.
While Gasol going to the Raptors isn’t great news for the Celtics in the present, it could help them in the future. Memphis gets worse with the deal, and Boston is the proud owner of one of their future first-round picks (top-8 protected in 2019, top-6 protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021). So at least they have that going for them.