Celtics pursue Kristaps Porziņģis in 3-team trade with Wizards, Clippers: Sources

By Shams Charania, Jared Weiss, Josh Robbins, Law Murray and Jay King

The Wizards, Celtics and Clippers are in strong talks about a three-team trade that would send Kristaps Porziņģis to Boston, Marcus Morris and draft compensation to Washington and Malcolm Brogdon to Los Angeles, league sources said. Athletics. Teams are still working out details and Porzingis’ $36 million player option for next season.

The deal is considered a “high possibility,” according to a league source briefed on the negotiations. Boston would also need to post additional salary, with Danilo Gallinari’s expiring $6.8 million closing the gap to reach the salary adjustment threshold.

The Wizards have shown interest in bringing back Porziņģis, but have also been notified of several teams interested in the 7-foot-3 big man. Washington signed Porziņģis in February 2022. He averaged a career-high 23.2 points last season, along with 8.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 32.6 minutes per game. match.

Morris, 33, averaged 11.2 points and four rebounds a game for Los Angeles. Brogdon, 30, did not start last season for the first time in his career. He scored 14.9 points with 4.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists on the night.

Athletics instant analysis:

Why the wizards move Porziņģis

Ever since the Wizards agreed to trade Bradley Beal, it’s been clear that the franchise’s new decision makers want to rebuild. The follow-up question has been: How low do Michael Winger and Will Dawkins want to go? Do they want to go all the way down to the studs?

A trade involving Porziņģis certainly indicates that tearing the roster down to the studs is the direction the Wizards’ brass wants to take.

When the Wizards agreed to trade Beal, the return to the Wizards was limited in terms of draft capital that could spark a rebuild. A three-team trade involving Porziņģis should be able to provide some additional draft capital.

In order for the Wizards to trade Porziņģis right now, Porziņģis would first have to exercise his player option for the 2023-24 season. The option is worth $36 million.

Today is the deadline for Porziņģis to exercise this player option, which in part explains the urgency of getting this trade done.

The second reason for urgency: The 2023 NBA Draft will be held Thursday night, and gaining additional draft capital in a Porziņģis trade — depending on what that draft capital would be — would allow the Wizards to use it in the draft night or repackage it in an attempt to move up the draft.

Porziņģis has been well-liked by teammates, coaches and team managers ever since the Wizards traded for him in February 2022. He has been a positive influence on his young teammates, especially forward Deni Avdija.

Porziņģis made it clear last season that he enjoyed playing in Washington and would be happy to remain with the franchise on the right long-term deal. But much has changed since the end of the season, including the firing of president and general manager Tommy Sheppard, the hiring of Winger, Dawkins and Travis Schlenk and the trade of Beal. Porziņģis has not commented on these significant changes, but it is not out of the question that he would not be interested in participating in a rebuild.

A trade to Boston would allow him to compete for a championship. It would also hand over his Bird rights to Boston, who would then have the freedom to move over the cap to re-sign him or extend his contract.

It should also be noted that any deal that sends Malcolm Brogdon to the Clippers would seemingly eliminate the Clippers as a potential destination for the Wizards to redirect Chris Paul, who is one of the outgoing Suns players in the Beal trade. – Robbins

What Porziņģis would add to Boston

The Celtics will take a risk on Porziņģis, who has dealt with injuries throughout his career. With just one year left on his contract, assuming he chooses to facilitate this trade, he could potentially leave as a free agent next offseason. Assuming the cost isn’t too great, he would still make a lot of sense in Boston. He would give the Celtics more lineup options in the front court. He would allow them to play bigger lineups more consistently. He would give them a consistent source of low-post scoring. And he would do all that without forcing the Celtics to sacrifice much of the outside shooting that made them so difficult to stop last season. — King

Brogdon fits in LA

There are many layers to a possible Clippers acquisition for Brogdon. As far as the fit, the Clippers have always monitored Brogdon since his pre-draft process in 2016, interviewing him at the combine and bringing him in for a workout; The Clippers ended up using a first-round pick on Brice Johnson instead, one of the more regrettable picks by the Doc Rivers-led front office. Brogdon has since blossomed into a Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year.

The upside for Brogdon as he enters his eighth NBA season is the same as it’s always been: He’s a huge guard (6-foot-4, 229 pounds) capable of playing all three perimeter positions due to his mix of size, skill and willingness to defend. Brogdon has long arms, big hands and plays under control. He’s shooting at a high level: 48.4/44.4/87.0, with a 3.7-to-1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.

The downside to Brogdon is one that makes him almost fit too much into the current Clippers’ syndrome: He turns 31 in December, his durability is an annual question, he’s had multiple postseasons shortened by injury, his athleticism is nearing the cliff. and he is on the hook for $22.5 million in each of the next two seasons. Brogdon also doesn’t force turnovers, so he wouldn’t help the Clippers in one of their weak areas defensively.

Acquiring Brogdon makes the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook questions interesting. Would the Clippers still try to acquire Paul via trade? Paul is 38 years old and will be 39 next May in the playoffs; the only point guards who played more than 15 minutes per game in NBA postseason history at that age were John Stockton, Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Derek Fisher and Jason Terry. And only Fisher, Terry and Kidd, in reduced and completely ineffective roles, were on teams that won a playoff series at that age and position. Brogdon makes more practical sense in terms of acquiring a playmaking guard to play with Leonard and George. But that also means that only one of Paul or Westbrook could be signed to a minimum deal as well, and it appears the Clippers would prefer to wait on Paul before making a decision with Westbrook.

The Clippers trading Morris ends a four-year tenure in which Morris was paid and expected to produce as the third-best player on the team as a starting forward alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Morris certainly had his moments where he helped the Clippers, such as his 2021 postseason run where he guarded much bigger players while hitting a high percentage of his 3s and the 2022-23 season where Morris was a primary scoring option with Leonard and George were missing in action. Morris has been a physical presence in the lineup at power forward.

But Morris’ already adequate athleticism further evaporated over the last three years. Last season, Morris was one of the least active starters in the NBA in terms of steals, blocks and offensive rebound rates. And Morris’ shooting, while not a liability, was no longer good enough to justify his complete absence in other areas of the floor. While Robert Covington was essentially mothballed repeatedly this past season, it took until late March for the Clippers to finally adjust Morris’ role under the guise of health and safety protocols and back spasms. Trading Morris, who has a year left on his deal, removes the option to outplay him again next season.

But it also opens up what was already the biggest positional issue on the team, as neither Covington nor Nicolas Batum would be an ideal starter at this point in their careers. Even after this trade, the Clippers have more work to do in their starting lineup. – Murray

Back story

In March, Athletics reported that Porziņģis and the Wizards were in talks over a contract extension in which Porziņģis would opt out of his player option for the 2023–24 season and sign a new long-term deal. The Wizards can offer Porziņģis a maximum of four years and $180 million if he opts out next year and extends his deal.

The Celtics fell into an 0-3 hole in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat before rallying to force a Game 7. Miami defeated Boston 103-84 to advance to the Finals. Boston last reached the Finals in 2022, losing to the Warriors in six games.

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(Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

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