Grading the three-team Porzingis trade from all angles

Boston Celtics (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /
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Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards
Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) /

Grade the Trade: How did the Celtics do?

For most of the day, the Boston Celtics were reported to be trading Malcolm Brogdon for Kristaps Porzingis; that was an interesting deal, but it didn’t have huge emotional stakes for the Celtics fan base. Trading Marcus Smart, the longest-tenured Celtics player and the heart and soul of the team, was a shocking late-night development.

Adding Porzingis to their frontcourt is a move that makes sense. He quietly had an All-Star level season a year ago, and his combination of shooting and rim protection is unique even eight years after he was the original “Unicorn” coming into the league. As Al Horford eases into the twilight of his career, Porzingis allows them to keep their five-out system on offense.

Defensively, it’s a different question, as the Celtics have long enjoyed a switching or scram-heavy system, and now will need to transition to letting Porzingis hang back in the paint a lot more. In return they will get a player who can be a focal point in the offense, taking the ball out of Jaylen Brown’s hands more and giving them a more varied attack.

What about losing Marcus Smart? The strategic loss and the leadership loss are both palpable. He was one of the league’s best perimeter defenders, and while Derrick White is also excellent on that end, they’ve eroded that strength to add more rim protection. The more concerning loss is on offense, where the Celtics were already in need of more on-ball playmaking and now lost their best ball-handler. White and Brogdon are ok on that end, as is Jayson Tatum, but they don’t have anyone to truly trust, and that could be a big issue in the playoffs.

To move a fringe All-Star player like Smart for a fringe All-Star player in Porzingis and get two first-round picks was a really solid value play. Does it make the Celtics a better team? Perhaps not yet, but how they use those picks and find another point guard will be key. Is Peyton Pritchard simply in line for a larger role, or do they pursue one in free agency? And what does the addition of Porzingis mean for re-signing Grant Williams?

This trade was a good value, a questionable fit, and a risky move for a contender to make. It also sets the stage for what should be a fascinating week of wheeling and dealing.

Next. Ranking the 7 best available point guards in NBA free agency. dark

Grade: B+