The last two days before Thursday night’s NBA Draft have been highlighted by almost. Boston, Los Angeles and Washington agreed in principle to send Kristaps Porziņģis to the Celtics, Malcolm Brogdon to the Clippers, and Marcus Morris, Danilo Gallinari, Amir Coffey, plus draft capital including Los Angeles’ No. 30 pick, to the Wizards. But the medical evaluation of Brogdon ultimately led to the Clippers pulling out of the three-team trade, league sources confirmed to Yahoo Sports, forcing the Celtics and Wizards to find another way to redirect Porziņģis to Boston.
The end result: A new three-team deal in the Memphis Grizzlies, which will send the No. 25 pick plus a 2024 first-rounder from Golden State to Boston in exchange for Celtics mainstay Marcus Smart. Grizzlies backup point guard Tyus Jones is headed to Washington, with No. 35 from Boston and Mike Muscala in addition to Gallinari.
Memphis had been looking to trade Jones for a starting job, as Yahoo Sports reported earlier this week, with the goal of adding defensive-minded wing depth. Smart, the 2021-22 Defensive Player of the Year, brings the Grizzlies the type of premium, lockdown pest on the rim, plus a starter for Ja Morant while Memphis’ All-Star guard serves a 25-game suspension. The Grizzlies have dangled several first-round picks in pursuit of various wing players, such as Mikal Bridges, who goes back to the February trade deadline, sources said. Magic swingman Franz Wagner is believed to be another young player Memphis has targeted in recent months. Sending a pair of late first-rounders for Smart — the Warriors are certainly aiming to be among the best in the West next season — seems like a strong middle ground between marginal improvement and a home run swing for the Grizzlies, while Smart has three years left on a value contract with an average annual salary of DKK 19 million.
Boston had been active in talks around the league about both Brogdon and Smart, sources said, with the goal of cleaning up its backcourt congestion and adding reinforcements to a front line that features the oft-injured Robert Williams and aging Al Horford. The Celtics laid the groundwork for potential options to deal the No. 35 pick plus Payton Pritchard for a later first-round pick, sources said, but Boston was clearly aggressive in prioritizing bigger moves to upgrade a contending roster, and you can’t get much bigger than a 7-foot-3 center who quietly regained All-Star form for most of the 2022-23 season. The Celtics ultimately got the pick in the 20s, which they also looked at. In conversations with league personnel, Brogdon seemed the most likely Celtic to be moved, and there he was in the original Porziņģis frame with the Clippers. It remains to be seen if the Celtics will continue to explore Brogdon trades after nearly dealing the veteran guard, or if his medical situation will prevent any movement there at all. Perhaps Boston can use one of the extra picks added from Memphis to help facilitate a subsequent move.
The Wizards have already begun contacting opposing teams about trading Monte Morris, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Morris started at point guard alongside Bradley Beal last season after arriving from Denver in the 2022 offseason deal that brought Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the champion Nuggets. There’s also a chance that this trade with Boston and Memphis, and any subsequent deal surrounding veteran ball handler Chris Paul, could be included in the Beal blockbuster with Phoenix that was agreed upon last weekend. Phoenix and Washington have planned for that trade call to take place and be completed Friday, sources said, with Beal, backup guard Jordan Goodwin and former second-round pick Isaiah Todd expected to fly to Phoenix and complete their physicals.
Couldn’t the Clippers get Brogdon to lead Los Angeles back into talks about Paul? The Wizards have informed teams they don’t want to incur long-term money in trade scenarios this offseason, sources said, and Marcus Morris’ $17 million expiring salary was already on the way out the door in the first Porziņģis-to-Boston three- team player. . Morris plus Robert Covington and his own expiring contract still make the math work for Paul.
Despite all the growing noise about Paul George’s trade candidacy in Los Angeles, don’t expect the Clippers to part ways with the eight-time All-Star. Portland has indeed registered interest in creating a package around the No. 3 pick for George, sources said, but those talks did not gain traction with Los Angeles. There has certainly been talk of New York’s interest in acquiring George if the Clippers do indeed make him available, but Los Angeles intends to continue to bolster its roster around George and Kawhi Leonard — as evidenced by the team’s attempt to bring Brogdon into the fold.
Another Eastern Conference trade appeared to be derailed as it neared the finish line Tuesday night. The Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks made progress on a deal that would have sent De’Andre Hunter to the Pacers, league sources told Yahoo Sports, but talks ultimately fell apart. Further details of the framework are still unknown, but since the Hawks have consistently looked at deals that could help Atlanta jump from No. 15 to the top 10 in this draft, the Pacers weren’t willing to trade No. 7 in those discussions for Hunter , sources said. Indiana has scoured the market for starting forwards and contacted the Warriors about signing Jonathan Kuminga, sources said, and it looms as a potential free-agent destination for several veterans such as Harrison Barnes, Kyle Kuzma and Grant Williams.
The Hawks continued to be described as one of the more active teams in trade dialogue around the NBA. Hunter, John Collins and All-Star guard Dejounte Murray, in addition to starting center Clint Capela, continue to be mentioned by team staff as viable trade candidates, with Hunter appearing to be involved in most of the Hawks’ options entering draft night. There remains the possibility, sources said, that Dallas could send the No. 10 pick to Atlanta for the No. 15 pick, depending on which players are available. However, the Mavericks could defy expectations and stay at No. 10 if Villanova product Cam Whitmore or UCF forward Taylor Hendricks slide to that pick.
Atlanta has also maintained pursuit of Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, according to league sources. The Hawks have tried several creative packages to land the All-NBA talent from Toronto, including at least one three-team scenario. Opposing front offices still believe the Raptors’ high valuation of their players, such as Siakam and OG Anunoby, marks the biggest roadblock to any potential trade for either Raptor. Toronto also stands as one of several teams in the middle of the first round that could trade up or down in Thursday night’s draft order. Every year, teams consider maneuvering in both directions of the draft, but June seems to have a disproportionate number of front offices preparing to move in either direction, depending on how the picks pan out. Toronto, for example, has had discussions with Orlando about jumping from No. 13 to No. 11, sources say, while the Raptors have also called teams like Golden State at No. 19 and Brooklyn with picks Nos. 21 and 22 to slide down . Board of Directors.
Other notes from around the league
Put the Lakers in a similar category of trade variance. Los Angeles has had discussions about moving up in the lottery, with some rival staffers believing the target is Michigan guard Kobe Bufkin. The Lakers have also had preliminary talks with several teams about trading No. 17 plus the salary of Malik Beasley and/or Mo Bamba in exchange for veteran talent and perhaps a later pick. A few names to watch: Toronto guard Gary Trent Jr., Pacers guard Buddy Hield and Brooklyn swingman Dorian Finney-Smith, sources say.
Brooklyn has discussed Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale with various teams, sources said. The Nets are seeking a pick and a player for Finney-Smith, and a first-round pick for O’Neale, similar to how Brooklyn acquired him from the Jazz before last June’s draft.
Houston has made the No. 20 pick available in trade talks, according to league sources, and has made various offers to move the selection. It’s unclear which direction the Rockets would prefer in any return at this spot.
Portland is also evaluating trade options with the No. 23 pick, with an ongoing eye toward improving the guard around Damian Lillard.
The Pacers still have picks Nos. 26, 40 and 55 and will look for ways to move up in the first round, sources said. Indiana already made a trade with Denver on Wednesday, sending Nos. 29 and 32 for a 2024 first-round pick and the 40th pick. Sending those picks to the Nuggets appears to have further removed Indiana and Atlanta from a possible Hunter trade.