CLEVELAND -- The first blockbuster deal of NBA trade deadline week has arrived and it involved a name few thought was on the trade market. New Sixers general manager Elton Brand made yet another all-in type move, acquiring Clippers forward Tobias Harris along with Mike Scott and Boban Marjanovic in exchange for Landry Shamet, Mike Muscala, Wilson Chandler, two first-round picks (2020 Philadelphia, 2021 Miami) and two second-round picks.
A few initial thoughts on how this move hurts Boston on a number of fronts.
1. The 2019 Clippers pick may have just disappeared: Currently, the Clippers are the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with a 30-25 record. However, it's going to be very hard for them to hold onto that spot in a crowded West race after trading away their best player in Harris. They got some talent back in the deal, but no one who will come close to filling the Harris scoring void. Assuming the Clippers drop into the lottery eventually to either the Kings or Lakers spot (both within striking distance), the Celtics do not get the Clippers' first-round pick this year (since it's top-14 protected). Instead, the Celtics get one more shot at it next year (top-14 protected again) before it turns into a 2022 second-round pick.
This could be notable when it comes to Anthony Davis trade talks or any other trade talks for that matter. There is a big difference between a first-round pick in the teens (Clippers will likely pick No. 18 if they made playoffs) and the possibility of that pick turning into a second rounder altogether. The Clippers' front office will be big-game hunting in free agency this summer with two max slots and the C's will be rooting hard for them to succeed on that front and become a playoff team again to get that first rounder to convey.
2. The 2019 Kings pick just took a hit: It was bad enough already for Danny Ainge that the Kings had surpassed expectations and pulled themselves out of the bottom half of the lottery. In the wake of this move? The door is now open for them to make the postseason. They have now won three straight games and are just one game back of the Clippers for the No. 8 spot. It's not going to be easy with LeBron James and the Lakers looming 1.5 games back, but given the dysfunction that team is experiencing right now, it's no guarantee they play their best basketball over the season's final 29 games.
So how much of a difference will reaching the playoffs make in regards to Boston's assets? It will jump that first round pick up from the No. 11-14 range all the way up to No. 18 (surpassing three mediocre East teams that will be making the postseason. It's not a huge shift, but that's the sort of move that could cost Boston an additional asset when it comes to using this pick in a deal down the line.
3. The Sixers just became scarier on offense, but still have one big hole: