Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said the three-team trade that brought Kristaps Porzingis but saw Marcus Smart go to the Memphis Grizzlies was about balancing the team’s roster.
“I said this at the start of the summer: I thought that we need to balance our roster and make sure that we look at the best ways to do that,” said Stevens to reporters early Friday morning after the NBA draft. . “And that means we’re probably going to lose a really, really, really good player.”
Along with the Porzingis and Smart moves, the three-team trade between the Celtics, Grizzlies and Wizards sent Danilo Gallinari, center Mike Muscala and guard Tyus Jones to Washington and netted Boston a top-four-protected 2024 first-round pick. The Celtics also acquired the 25th overall pick in Thursday’s draft, trading down several times before acquiring Arkansas’ Jordan Walsh and several future second-round picks.
Stevens said Porzingis will help the Celtics’ offense and defense near the rim, adding that the 7-foot-3 center is “starting to play at the best level I’ve ever seen.”
“From our perspective, we’re just looking at it as ‘what is our best opportunity to continue to grow and improve as a team?'” Stevens said. “It is known that sometimes it is necessary, very difficult decisions. As I said, not only adding Kristaps with his skills, his size and the versatility of the position, we have more numbers and options in smaller positions than we did in the big one, especially if we were expecting too.”
Stevens declined to respond to the initial three-team trade proposal that would have involved Malcolm Brogdon going to the LA Clippers. After that deal fell apart, the Celtics pivoted to talks with the Grizzlies to complete the trade before Porzingis’ deadline to pick up his $36 million option for 2023-24.
Acquiring Porzingis is the first of many big decisions going forward for the Celtics this summer, as Boston could offer All-Star forward Jaylen Brown a five-year, $295 million contract extension and The future of restricted free agent forward Grant Williams must be resolved.
Boston will also have to adjust to life without Smart, one of the league’s best and most versatile perimeter defenders who won the 2021-22 Defensive Player of the Year Award and won the NBA’s Hustle Award three times. times, including the last two seasons.
Stevens praised Smart, who spent his nine-year NBA career in Boston after the Celtics drafted him No. 6 overall in 2014, due to his contribution to the franchise.
“The biggest legacy you can leave is to go somewhere and it’s better because you were there,” Stevens told reporters. “And I think everyone here feels that way.
“I think he will always be appreciated and thought of here for any number of reasons. Obviously, everyone loves the way he plays and how hard he plays, but also his work in the community. We are all very grateful to have had Marcus in our lives as long as we have and are saddened to see him gone.”
Information from ESPN’s Tim Bontemps was used in this report.