Due to their perceived weakness in the paint, the Boston Celtics have been linked to multiple big men in the lead-up to the March 25 trade deadline, including the likes of Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner. However, a recent scenario suggested that the Celtics could instead target Jonas Valanciunas of the Memphis Grizzlies in a deal involving multiple draft picks as well as one of their young backup guards.
According to NBA Analysis Network, the Celtics have long needed some additional help underneath, especially since they were "dominated" by the Miami Heat and their center, Bam Adebayo, in last year's Eastern Conference Finals. The club's top two centers, Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson, have been off to "pedestrian" starts, which is why the urgency is there for Boston to upgrade its frontcourt.
In the proposed trade, the Celtics would be acquiring Valanciunas from the Grizzlies for a package featuring a first-round pick and a second-round pick from the 2021 draft and second-year guard Carsen Edwards. According to the outlet, the Lithuanian big man is "ready to start" and could contribute immediately if the hypothetical deal pushes forward. He was also described as an "enforcer" who could give the Celtics the size they need in the middle while carrying his weight on both ends of the floor.
"The current contributions from Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis are enough to make the Celtics look on the market for an improvement," the publication continued. "Jonas Valanciunas is a [hard-nosed] player with great experience in the league and has recently shown an ability to step out and shoot a bit."
Now in his ninth year in the NBA, Valanciunas is averaging 15.7 points and 11.1 rebounds and shooting 55.6 percent from the field, according to Basketball-Reference. While he is presently contributing less than a block per game, he has shown some improvement as an outside shooter in recent campaigns -- last season, he shot 35.2 percent from beyond the arc after attempting a career-high 91 shots from three-point range.
Although Edwards isn't seeing a lot of playing time in Boston, NBA Analysis Network predicted that he could thrive if he gets traded to the Grizzlies, who are building around recent lottery picks Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. The future picks, as pointed out, could allow Memphis to add more supporting pieces to complement the two youngsters, while Valanciunas' exit — in the event the trade pushes forward — could free up enough salary-cap space for the Grizzlies to afford a notable free agent in the 2021 offseason.