Boston Celtics trade Marcus Smart in three-team deal for Kristaps Porzingis

According to league sources, Boston will also send forwards Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari to Washington in the three-team trade. Boston receives the Grizzlies’ first-round pick, No. 25 overall, in Thursday’s draft, as well as the Warriors’ first-round pick in the 2024 draft. Finally, the Celtics traded the No. 35 overall pick in Thursday’s draft to Washington, and the Wizards received guard Tyus Jones from Memphis.

The addition of the 7-foot-3 Porzingis, a 27-year-old former All-Star who just finished the best season of his career, reshapes this franchise and gives coach Joe Mazzulla one of the league’s most unique offensive weapons.

But the repercussions of trading Smart, the 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year who has been this team’s heartbeat for years, will be significant. Smart, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, was the first key part of Boston’s rapid rebuild after the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett era.

Marcus Smart (left) was drafted No. 6 by the Celtics in 2014. James Young, also drafted that year, is on the right.Steven Senne

His intensity and toughness helped define the flawed but gritty Celtics teams early in Brad Stevens’ tenure as coach, and he transformed into a talented playmaker who often pointed out that after playing alongside the former All- Star point guards Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker, he was the first to lead the Celtics to the NBA Finals, which he did in 2022.

He was active in the community, dyed his hair green and seemed to fully embrace being Celtic as much as any player in recent times. But rosters and paths suddenly change in the NBA, and now Smart is gone.

His departure paves the way for Derrick White, a breakout star in this season’s playoffs, to become the full-time starting point guard. White’s finest moment came in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat, when his last-second putback improbably forced a Game 7 and kept alive Boston’s chances of becoming the first NBA team ever to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the series.

The Celtics’ Marcus Smart cheered after he hit a fourth-quarter three-pointer to extend Boston’s big lead against the Milwaukee Bucks to Game 7 of their 2022 NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series at TD Garden.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

But the Celtics lost Game 7 at TD Garden, and that defeat may have set Wednesday’s events in motion. Brogdon, meanwhile, looks set to return to his sixth man role after appearing to be on his way out. The Clippers’ setback will raise new questions about Brogdon’s health and whether he will eventually need surgery on his injured forearm.

But the Celtics went into the offseason focused on reducing congestion in their backcourt and increasing their frontcourt, and this trade certainly did that.

Boston could have simply walked away when Los Angeles pulled out of the three-team deal on Wednesday, but Stevens, now president of basketball operations, quickly pounced on the situation and clearly saw Porzingis as a key piece that could help the Celtics take the fight. last step that has eluded them.

Porzingis rose to fame with the Knicks before a bumpy stretch with the Mavericks. And this past season, he bounced back with a stellar year in Washington, averaging 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting 38.5 percent from the 3-point line. His arrival will allow Al Horford to slide back to his natural power forward position and give Boston another floor spacing that could make life easier for All-Star wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Porzingis would be eligible to sign a two-year, $77 million extension starting July 6, and the Celtics may have received assurances of his desire to be in Boston long-term before making this deal.

Gallinari’s Celtic tenure, meanwhile, ends without him ever donning green. The Italian forward tore his ACL playing in a World Cup qualifier last September and missed all of this season. Muscala was acquired from the Thunder last February to bolster frontcourt depth, but never cracked the regular rotation.

According to multiple league sources, the deal for Porzingis will likely signal the end of forward Grant Williams’ time in Boston. Last fall, Williams sought a four-year extension worth approximately $54 million, but the two sides were unable to agree on terms.

Williams shot 39.5 percent from the 3-point line this season, but fell out of Mazzulla’s rotation for most of the postseason. He is now a restricted free agent, allowing Boston to match any offer sheet he signs with another team.

But the addition of another frontcourt player, combined with Boston’s bulging luxury tax bill and tenuous position near the second berth in the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, would likely make the partnership untenable, sources said. The Celtics could still negotiate a sign-and-trade with Williams, allowing him to land with a team that doesn’t have the salary cap to sign him outright, with Boston receiving assets in return.

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Adam Himmelsbach can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.

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