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GM Chris Wallace admits Grizzlies want 1st-round pick to convey to Celtics this year

Chris Wallace

At the 2015 NBA trade deadline, the Memphis Grizzlies sent their 2019 first-round pick to the Boston Celtics for Jeff Green as part of a three-team deal. The pick is top-eight protected in 2019, top-six protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021. Many have speculated that the Grizzlies are hoping to send the pick to the Celtics this year in order to get their obligation over and done with.

Friday, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace came right out and said it:

This comes as no surprise. The Grizzlies have struggled this season, currently sitting at 22-34 and holding the second-worst record in the Western Conference, ahead of only the lowly Phoenix Suns. However, they are only the sixth-worst team in the NBA, as the bottom of the Eastern Conference has been awful.

Memphis is headed toward a rebuild after trading Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley might be next this summer. They would much rather sacrifice the ninth overall pick in 2019 than risk sending a better pick in the next few years.

The fact that they owe Boston a pick in itself stings for Memphis. The trade for Green did not work out as planned. At the time, Green looked like a promising frontcourt player who could help them make a playoff run. But he only totaled 98 games over two seasons with Memphis. He averaged 12.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his time with the team.

Green particularly struggled in the 2015 playoffs. He was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers at the 2016 deadline.

Due to the Green trade and other deals with the Clippers and Sixers, Boston could end up with as many as four first-round picks in 2019. At 35-20, the team holds the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and appears to be set up well for the future.