Boston Celtics Trade Point Guard Marcus Smart in Three-Team Deal

Posted on: June 22, 2023, 09:47h. 

Last updated on: June 22, 2023, 07:04h.

The Boston Celtics agreed to trade point guard Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzles in a three-team deal. The Celtics acquired center Kristaps Porzingis from the Washington Wizards, and the Grizzles shipped point guard Tyus Jones to the Wizards.

Marcus Smart Kristaps Porzingis
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart talks a little trash with Washington Wizards center/power forward Kristaps Porzingis at the TD Center in Boston. (Image: Getty)

The Celtics will also trade Mike Muscala and forward Danilo Gallinari to the Wizards to complete their end of the deal.

The multiteam trade also includes draft picks. The Grizzlies will send a pair of first-round draft picks to the Celtics, including the #25 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and a protected first-rounder in 2024. The Celtics send an early second-rounder, the #35 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, to the Wizards.

The trade was completed on the eve of the 2023 NBA Draft, which is scheduled for Thursday night in Brooklyn, New York.

The Almost-Trade with the Clippers

The Bradley Beal trade over the weekend set this multiteam trade in motion. The Wizards are seeking to rebuild the team after they traded Beal to the Phoenix Suns for Chris Paul and Landry Shamet.

Two other Wizards starters with single-year player options were also impacted by the Beal trade. Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma declined his one-year player option and will test the free agency waters. Porzingis also had a one-year player option that had to get triggered before midnight, otherwise, he would become a free agent.

On Wednesday afternoon, there were numerous reports that the Celtics and Wizards were hammering out a three-team trade with Porzingis as the centerpiece and the Los Angeles Clippers as the third team in the deal. In this initial trade offer, the Celtics would send backup point guard Malcolm Brogdon to the Clippers. Then the Clippers would send Marcus Morris to the Wizards, who in turn would trade Porzingis to the Celtics.

The Clippers nixed the trade because of Brogdon’s health status. Brogdon was the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year, but has a long history of injuries.

Brogdon was initially diagnosed with golfer’s elbow during the 2023 NBA playoffs, but the Celtics later discovered he tore a tendon in his right arm in the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat. He saw diminished playing time in Game 3 and Game 4, averaging 17.5 minutes of court time. Brogdon missed Game 6 and played a total of 15 combined minutes in Games 5 and 7.

Celtics Trade Longest-Tenured Player

When the initial trade with the Clippers fell apart, the Celtics and Wizards quickly pivoted. They worked out a deal with the Grizzlies prior to the midnight deadline so Porzingis could opt-in for a final year on his contract.

The Celtics could no longer include the banged-up Brogdon in any future trades. General manager Brad Stevens was forced to move away from their starters. Both Smart and Jaylen Brown were the subject of trade rumors this off-season.

Smart spent his entire career with the Celtics, and the Celtics qualified for the postseason in all nine of those seasons. The Celtics made five trips to the Eastern Conference finals and advanced to the 2022 NBA Finals with Smart on the roster.

The Celtics drafted Smart out of Oklahoma State with the sixth-overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He served as a backup point guard in his first four seasons, and took over as a full-time starter in the 2018-19 season. He averaged a career-high 13.1 points in the 2020-21 season.

In the 2022-23 season, Smart appeared in 61 games and missed 21 games with different injuries. He averaged 11.5 points, a career-high 6.3 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game.

By trading Smart, the Celtics will lose a stellar perimeter defender. In the 2021-22 season, Smart was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He became the first guard to win the DPOY award since Gary Payton in 1996.

Smart will provide the Grizzlies with a veteran point guard and a stabilizing force in the locker room to help mentor Ja Morant. Morant will miss the first 25 games of the regular season after the NBA suspended him for another incident involving a firearm.

Beantown Unicorn

Porzingis earned the “Unicorn” nickname by scouts because he was a 7-foot-3 big man from Latvia who had deft guard skills.

The Knicks drafted Porzingis with the #4 pick in the 2015 draft. He showed a lot of potential as a dominant defender and playmaker before he blew out his knee. His relationship with the Knicks soured and he asked them to trade him. The Knicks dealt the Unicorn to the Dallas Mavericks in 2019, but he didn’t mesh with Luka Dončić, so the Mavs shipped him to the Wizards at the 2022 NBA trade deadline.

Porzingis thrived in his first full season with the Wizards by averaging a career-high 23.2 points per game. He also added 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 38.5% from 3-point range.

Porzingis has struggled with injuries during his career, so his durability is a big question mark. If he can remain healthy, Porzingis provides the Celtics with a sharp-shooting big man who can get buckets.

The Celtics will send two second-unit players to the Wizards in exchange for Porzingis. Gallinari, a veteran small forward originally from Italy, was the sixth-overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He missed last season while recovering from an ACL injury.

The Celtics acquired Muscala at the trade deadline from the Oklahoma City Thunder to bolster their bench for the playoffs. The backup center averaged 5.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, and shot 38.5% from 3-point range in 20 games with the Celtics.

Mr. Jones Goes to Washington

Jones played a one-and-done season at Duke and led them to a championship at the 2015 March Madness tournament. He was a late first-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He spent his first four seasons as a backup point guard with the Minnesota Timberwolves before he joined the Grizzlies prior to the 2019-20 season.

Jones is a valuable backup who provided the Grizzlies with a competent spot starter in the last two seasons. He filled in when Morant was either injured or suspended. The Grizzlies trading Jones was a surprise, because he was expected to begin the season as the starter while Morant missed the first quarter of the season because of a suspension.

Jones appeared in 80 games last season. He averaged a career-best 10.3 points, 5.2 assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game. He shot 39% from 3-point range two seasons ago, and shot 37.1% this last season.

NBA Futures: Celtics, Grizzlies, Wizards

Oddsmakers posted NBA futures for the 2023-24 season right after the Denver Nuggets won the championship last weekend. The Nuggets were installed as the betting favorite to repeat as champions next season at +450 odds. The Celtics were initially second on the board at +550 odds, the Grizzlies were +2200 odds in the middle of the pack, and the Wizards were +30000 odds near the bottom.

A lot has changed in the last 10 days, and the Beal trade to the Suns made a noticeable impact on the futures market.

The Nuggets are now a cofavorite with the Celtics to win the title at +475 odds, according to DraftKings. With the addition of Beal, the Suns are third overall to win the title at +700 odds. The Grizzlies are +2500 odds as the 11th-highest team on the NBA futures board.

After the Wizards traded two starters and lost another to free agency, they sunk to the bottom of the board at +60000 odds to win the championship. The Wizards now have the same long-shot title odds as the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets.