The Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards came close to a blockbuster trade that would send Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics on Wednesday, but according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, that iteration of the deal has fallen apart. The deal initially looked like this:
- Celtics receive: Kristaps Porzingis
- Clippers receive: Malcolm Brogdon
- Wizards receive: 30th overall pick in 2023 NBA Draft, Marcus Morris, Amir Coffey, Danilo Gallinari
However, according to Marc Stein, the Clippers were concerned about Malcolm Brogdon’s medical history and ultimately decided to back out of the agreement. The Celtics and Wizards are still reportedly looking for an alternate path to making a deal, but they are working under a deadline of midnight, eastern as that is the deadline for Porzingis to exercise his player option. Porzingis was expected to sign a contract extension with the Celtics later this summer if the deal had gone through, per Stein.
The deal would have accomplished 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 would have cleared the way for a rotation of Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Payton Pritchard in the guard spots. It would also have shored 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.
Per Sportsline, the deal would have increased 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 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.
For now, the deal appears to be on hold, but the Celtics and Wizards seemingly remain motivated to find an alternative path. That might mean a direct swap between the two sides, or it might mean a new partner in a three-way deal, but the clock is ticking as Boston and Washington try to find a way to finish one of the biggest moves of the offseason.