The Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards are closing in on a blockbuster trade that would send Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics, according to The Athletic. The deal would move Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon to the Clippers and L.A. wing Marcus Morris to the Wizards along with draft compensation. Danilo Gallinari could head from Boston to Washington as part of the deal, for the sake of salary-matching adds Yahoo Sports. Porzingis holds a $36 million player option for next season that he would need to opt into for this deal to be finalized.
Here is the reported framework of a potential deal:
- Celtics receive: Kristaps Porzingis
- Clippers receive: Malcolm Brogdon
- Wizards receive: 30th overall pick in 2023 NBA Draft, Marcus Morris, Amir Coffey, Danilo Gallinari
Assuming the trade is completed, it would accomplish several things for a Celtics team coming off of a very disappointing Eastern Conference finals loss to the Miami Heat. The Celtics had reportedly been looking for a way to break up their logjam in the backcourt, and this move clears the way for a rotation of Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Payton Pritchard in the guard spots. It would also shore up their front line, which is critical as Grant Williams is a restricted free agent, Robert Williams III has durability concerns and Al Horford just turned 37.
Porzingis is coming off of a very strong year in Washington. He played 65 games for the Wizards, His most since the 2016-17 season, and averaged 23.2 points and 8.4 rebounds while playing strong interior defense. The Celtics typically prioritize big men that can shoot, and Porzingis would likely be the best shooting big man in franchise history. Last season, he took 5.5 3-pointers per game and made 38.5% of them.
Porzingis would be expected to sign a contract extension with the Celtics later this summer if the deal goes through, per Marc Stein.
Per Sportsline, the deal would increase the Celtics’ 2024 championship chances fairly significantly. Boston had an 18% chance to win the NBA title next season before the trade, and that number would rise to 21.5% with Porzingis on the roster.
The appeal for the Clippers is obvious, though the deal comes with plenty of risks. Brogdon is the pure point guard and playmaker they’ve spent years looking for. He just won Sixth Man of the Year in Boston, and even if the Clippers keep Russell Westbrook, the two have contrasting skill sets that could create a diverse overall point guard rotation. Of course, the danger for the Clippers is that Brogdon comes with his own set of durability concerns. He missed 15 games last season, and in the three previous seasons, he played just 146 games in total. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George also frequently injured, the Clippers would be making a major bet on a group of players that rarely manages to stay on the court for entire seasons.
The Wizards are fully embarking on a rebuild after trading Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns. With that in mind, retaining Porzingis on a long-term deal makes little sense. If they can get value for him now, while he is healthy and coming off of a strong season, it would be in their best interest to do so. Every game he plays for them risks another injury.
This is a very high-risk, high-reward move for both the Celtics and the Clippers, but with the Nuggets looming as overwhelming championship favorites, these are the sort of moves that teams need to hit on if they hope to contend with the reigning champs.