Celtics trade Wright to Suns, reportedly close to sending Green to Grizzlies
The Boston Celtics dealt Brandan Wright to the Suns and are close to a separate trade sending Jeff Green to the Grizzlies in a three-team deal involving the Pelicans, Yahoo! Sports/Fox Sports 1 NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday.
Green is the most significant piece involved in either pact. The Celtics are expected to send him to the Grizzlies in exchange for the expiring contract of forward Tayshaun Prince and a first-round pick. Meanwhile, New Orleans will ship guard John Salmons to Boston and guard Russ Smith to Memphis, while the Grizzlies will also send forward Quincy Pondexter to New Orleans.
Green leads the Celtics in scoring at 17.6 points per game, an average that would be third on the Grizzlies’ roster. His contract runs through the end of this season and he has a player option worth $9.2 million next season.
Boston’s other deal, which has since been formally announced by the Suns, sends Wright to Phoenix in exchange for a protected first-round draft pick forwarded from the Timberwolves.
The Celtics acquired Wright in their first big trade of this season, which sent point guard Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks. Wright played sparingly in the nine games since the trade, averaging less than 10 minutes per game.
The Timberwolves’ pick that the Celtics acquired for Wright is top-12 protected for the next two seasons. If the Wolves’ pick falls in the top 12 in each of the next two seasons, then the Celtics will receive Minnesota’s second-round picks in 2016 and 2017 instead. The Wolves have the second-worst record in the NBA, making this scenario the most likely one.
The moves continue a fire sale the Celtics have been having all season, dealing high-level players for future draft picks and trade assets. After completing these newest trades, the Celtics will hold the rights to first-round picks of five teams — the Mavericks, Clippers, 76ers, Timberwolves and Grizzlies, with varying levels of protection — in this year’s draft alone.
Green was pulled from the starting lineup moments before Boston’s 107-103 overtime loss at Indiana. He did not suit up for the game and wasn’t listed on the Celtics’ injury report.
All Boston coach Brad Stevens would say about Green’s absence is he also won’t be with the team this weekend.
"It’s all part of the business and we’re all professionals," Celtics guard Avery Bradley said. "All we can do is focus on the game, even Jeff. He was focused as well, and we still don’t know what’s going on."
Clearly, though, the wheeling-and-dealing for Boston has created some strange circumstances.
"It was very different," Stevens said. "It changes your pregame speech a little bit."
Memphis lost 106-95 at New Orleans on Friday night. The addition of Green would give the rugged Grizzlies a versatile scorer to go along with their stout defense.
Memphis’ competition out West also has been active. Houston added Josh Smith and Corey Brewer. Dallas traded for Rondo, and Oklahoma City swung a deal to land Dion Waiters from Cleveland.
If the 28-year-old Green is moving on, Boston will feel it.
"It’s hard to see anyone go," Bradley said. "If (Green) is here, or somewhere else, we can only hope he does well."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.