The second mega-deal of the NBA offseason went down on Wednesday, as the Boston Celtics landed Kristaps Porzingis and sent Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team deal.
|Kristaps Porzingis, 2023 1st Rd Pick (#25), 2024 1st Rd Pick
|Tyus Jones, Danilo Gallinari, Mike Muscala, 2023 1st Rd Pick (#35)
It's been 24 days since Boston (+475 to win 2023/24 NBA Championship) crashed out of the NBA Playoffs in a 103-84 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and president of basketball operations Brad Stevens is already making moves.
Smart, a 3x All-Defensive Team selection and 2022 Defensive Player of the Year, was drafted by Boston sixth overall in 2014 and has been with them ever since. A key cog on the Celtics' five trips to the conference finals in the last seven seasons, Smart's departure comes as a surprise considering he is arguably Boston's best defensive player.
The Grizzlies remain +2500 to win the 2023/24 NBA title after acquiring Smart.
Only in 2022/23, after being traded from the to the Wizards, did we see him regain the consistency and explosiveness he showed in his first three seasons. Porzingis played 65 games, averaging 32.6 minutes and 23.2 points per game last season.
It was revealed late Wednesday night that this deal almost looked completely different.
The rumors floating around Wednesday included the Celtics going after Porzingis, but instead of dealing Smart, it was 2023 Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon going to the in a three-team trade. That fell through, and Smart was next in line.
Boston, a perennial championship contender, now has a complete roster shake-up.
The addition of Porzingis, a power forward/center who can shoot threes (38.5% on 5.5 attempts per game in 2022/23) alongside Jayson Tatum and gives the Celtics a much different look than with Smart. The 7-foot-3 Latvian will join Robert Williams to form perhaps the longest, most imposing rim-protecting frontcourt in the NBA.
The loss of Smart will not go unnoticed, however, as Boston will now heavily rely on Derrick White and Brogdon in situations Smart has excelled in over the years. Defensive enforcer Grant Williams is also on an expiring contract, which is a separate pressing concern for Boston fans.