Marcus Smart traded to Grizzlies; The Celtics acquire Kristaps Porzingis from the Wizards

It was a foregone conclusion if Thursday’s NBA draft started to feel counterintuitive with Victor Wembayama as the No. 1 pick making up for the lack of drama the night before.

In the second attempt to execute a multi-team trade in a seven-hour span on Wednesday, the Washington Wizards agreed to trade center Kristaps Porzingis to the Boston Celtics in a deal that would send guard Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies. Knowledge of the situation was confirmed.

Washington will receive point guard Deuce Jones and forward Danilo Gallinari, center Mike Muscala and the 35th pick in the second round from Memphis in Thursday’s draft from Boston. The Wizards are now slated to pick eighth, 35th, 42nd and 57th. Memphis is sending Boston the 25th pick and a 2024 first-round pick in Thursday’s draft.

First is ESPN reported Business details.

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For the Wizards, dealing Porzingis is the next step in what appears to be a complete elimination of the roster under Michael Winger, the team’s new chief decision-maker. In return, they got one of the league’s most prized backup point guards in a team-friendly deal: Jones, 27, is slated to make $14 million next season in the second year of a two-year deal.

Washington was is reported Porzingis was slated to be sent to Boston in a three-team trade earlier Wednesday involving the Los Angeles Clippers — until the deal fell through.

Porzingis, 27, had to pick up a $36 million player option in his contract to be traded. The Latvian came to Washington at the 2022 trade deadline as part of the deal that sent Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans to the Dallas Mavericks. Playing alongside Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma, he excelled in his first full season, playing in 65 games and downplaying his injury-prone reputation by averaging 23.2 points per game (23.2), assists (2.7) and field goal percentage (49.8). .

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He thrived off the court as well, forming a friendship with third-year forward Denny Avtija and becoming more comfortable in DC this spring, with former general manager Tommy Shepard talking about keeping Porzingis in Washington long-term.

Porzingis said he thought he could reach his full potential with the Wizards. But joining Boston offers something sweeter than distant hope: A chance for him to compete for a championship now following the Celtics’ runs to the Eastern Conference Finals this season and the NBA Finals in 2022.

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In theory, Porzingis would fit into Boston’s spread offense, which prioritizes a high volume of three-point shooting. The big man shot 38.5 percent from beyond the arc on 5.5 attempts per game last season, and his ability to space the floor is his most valuable offensive skill. However, Porzingis will likely be downplayed alongside the Celtics’ All-Star tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Porzingis still has a lot to prove defensively in the playoffs, though his presence should help Boston limit 37-year-old center Al Horford’s minutes during the regular season. In an ideal scenario, Porzingis could emerge as a paint-protecting option to complement Horford’s versatile approach.

To land Porzingis, Boston parted ways with Smart, who ended a nine-year run with the Celtics in which he was named the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year and contributed to five trips to the Eastern Conference Finals. A hard-nosed guard who endeared himself to Boston fans with his hustle, Smart’s shaky outside shooting sometimes proved costly for the Celtics in big postseason moments.

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Memphis adds Smart to a roster full of notable defenders, including 2023 defensive end Jaron Jackson Jr. and center Steven Adams. Smart will help Dillon Brooks handle some of the defensive responsibilities previously given to him, and he will be asked to handle the ball well during Za Morant’s 25-game suspension.

The rebuilding wizards added assets without taking on any major deals. Jones may get a chance to perform in Washington. A controlled player who makes up for limited athleticism with excellent decision-making, he averaged 10.3 points and 5.2 assists last season.

Gallinari, 34, and Muscala, 31, fill out the contract. Gallinari missed last season after tearing his left ACL and recently picked up his $6.8 million player option; That was the final season of his two-year deal. Muscala is slated to make $3.5 million next season after playing less in the playoffs following a midseason move from Oklahoma City.

As for Washington’s new pick: The 35th slot may not represent a marquee Hall of Famer, but this year’s draft class is thought to be loaded with high upside prospects, meaning a team willing to start from the bottom and be patient should have plenty of options. .

When the Wizards agreed to trade Beal to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, the 35th pick seemed stronger than several second-round picks and first-round pick swaps. In that transaction, the winger was handcuffed by Beal’s contract — which included a no-trade clause approved by Shepard and owner Ted Leonsis that stripped Washington of any leverage — but he was able to deal Porzingis while the asking price was high.

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The move could indicate the Wizards won’t re-sign Kuzma in free agency this summer unless the winger views the 27-year-old as a player. Forward is reported He declined a $13 million player option Tuesday as expected, hoping to land a more lucrative contract after two strong seasons in Washington.

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