WASHINGTON, DC, June 22 (BNA): The Washington Wizards have agreed to transfer center Christaps Porcingis to the Boston Celtics as part of a three-team trade that also includes Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies, two people familiar with the deal said. Thursday morning.
The people spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreements were not made public. The Associated Press reports that the deal 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 reports that the Wizards are also receiving guard Tyus Jones from Memphis, forwards Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari and that second-round pick General from Boston.
The Celtics added a 7-foot-3 Porzingis after they lost in seven games to Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals. Porcingis 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 remained healthy enough to play in 66 games, the most since 2016-17 when he was with the New York Knicks.
Porzingis’ departure completes a quick unraveling of Washington’s core after the Wizards agreed to trade Bradley Beal to Phoenix, and Kyle Kuzma rejected his option. Washington has missed the playoffs the past two seasons and is now clearly in rebuilding mode under new team president Michael Wenger.
Smart played for Boston all nine of his NBA seasons, and was the player with the longest tenure and one of the strongest presences in the locker room. He also ranks fourth on the career franchise lists for triples (911) and assists (2,700). His departure left the Celtics with Derrick White and sixth Man of the Year named 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 have only won one playoff series despite finishing second in the West the past two seasons.
The Celtics made it to the NBA Finals in 2022, but they couldn’t make a comeback this season despite their talented tandem Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Boston became the Pursings’ fourth team in the NBA. Drafted in 2015 by New York with the fourth overall pick, he played three seasons with the Knicks before being traded to Dallas before deadline in 2019 when he was recovering from knee surgery. The Wizards acquired him from Dallas 16 months ago.
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