NBA: Wizards trading Porzingis to Celtics in 3-team deal with Smart headed to Grizzlies: report

AP , Thursday 22 Jun 2023

The Washington Wizards have agreed to trade center Kristaps Porzingis to the Boston Celtics as part of a three-team trade that also includes Marcus Smart heading to the Memphis Grizzlies, two people with knowledge of the deal said Thursday morning.

Marcus Smart
FILE - Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, center, looks to pass past Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis, left, and forward Rui Hachimura, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Oct. 30, 2022, in Boston. Photo: AP


The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreements hadn’t been announced. The trade comes with Porzingis accepting his player option for next season.

The deal also includes the Grizzlies acquiring Smart, the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year, from Boston in exchange for first-round draft picks in 2023 and 2024. ESPN reported the Wizards are also receiving guard Tyus Jones from Memphis, and forwards Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari and a second-round pick this year from Boston.

The Celtics add the 7-foot-3 Porzingis after they lost in seven games to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals. Porzingis is coming off a solid season in Washington in which he averaged a career-high 23.2 points per game along with 8.4 rebounds. Most importantly, he stayed healthy enough to play in 66 games, his most since 2016-17 when he was with the New York Knicks.

Porzingis’ departure completes a swift breakup of Washington’s core after the Wizards agreed to trade Bradley Beal to Phoenix, and Kyle Kuzma declined his option. Washington has missed the playoffs the past two seasons and is now clearly in a rebuilding mode under new team president Michael Winger.

Smart has played in Boston all nine of his NBA seasons, was its longest-tenured player and one of the strongest presences in the locker room. He also ranks fourth on the franchise’s career lists for 3-pointers (911) and assists (2,700). His departure leaves the Celtics with Derrick White and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon as the top two candidates to replace Smart.

Smart brings much needed experience to a young Memphis team that needs help at point guard following the announcement of Ja Morant’s 25-game suspension for next season. Smart also brings postseason experience to the Grizzlies, who haven’t been able to win one playoff series despite finishing second in the West the past two seasons.

The Celtics reached the NBA Finals in 2022, but were unable to make it back this season despite their talented tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Boston becomes Porzingis’ fourth NBA team. Drafted in 2015 by New York with the fourth overall pick, he played three seasons with the Knicks before being traded to Dallas before the deadline in 2019 — when he was recovering from knee surgery. The Wizards acquired him from Dallas 16 months ago.

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