BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics clinched a playoff spot with a road win in Cleveland on Tuesday night. Shortly after, they also secured a third pick in this summer’s NBA Draft.
A few hours after the C’s locked down their spot in the postseason, the L.A. Clippers did the same. Doc Rivers and company will now send their 2019 first-round pick to the Celtics, completing the famous “Jeff Green trade” from the 2016 season.
So for now, Danny Ainge will have at least three first-round selections at his disposal in June’s draft. Boston has their own pick, the Sacramento Kings’ first-round pick (unless the basketball gods really dislike Boston and this ends up being the No. 1 overall selection, then the Celts get the 76ers’ pick) and the Clippers’ non-lottery selection.
The Celtics are also due a first-round pick from the Memphis Grizzlies, which carries top-8 protection this year. Memphis is looking at a rebuild, so the Celtics are hoping that pick does not convey this year. But Memphis currently owns the eighth-worst record in the NBA and are going “reverse-tank” to close the season, hoping to send their pick to Boston this summer.
As for the playoffs, Boston remains in the five-seed in the Eastern Conference with seven games to go before the playoffs. They sit 1.5 games behind the Indiana Pacers with two more head-to-head matchups between the two before the playoffs, including Friday night in Boston. If the Celtics can take their final two matchups with the Pacers, they have a good chance at securing home-court advantage for the first-round of the playoffs.