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Why The Celtics, Grizzlies, And Wizards Won Simultaneously

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

Rarely does an NBA trade work out in a fashion that benefits all parties involved. However, a carefully orchestrated deal between the Celtics, Grizzlies, and Wizards looks to be an exception. The Celtics traded Marcus Smart to the Grizzlies in exchange for two first-round picks, and traded Danilo Gallinari, Mike Muscala, and their 35th pick to the Wizards, who also got Tyus Jones from the Grizzlies for Kristaps Porzingis. Here's why, despite the ridiculous number of components, this trade somehow makes sense for everyone.


There's no question that Marcus Smart has been a huge part of the Celtics' organization over the past few years. In addition to being the emotional leader of the team and setting an example with his grit, his game is valuable on its own. In addition to being a fairly good facilitator, Smart has exceptional defensive capabilities, and can create his own shot. However, he had his limitations as a Celtics' contributor.

Smart could knock shots down, but he didn't always take the best looks and wasn't the most reliable shooter for Boston, and more importantly, he would take away opportunities for Tatum and Brown to get those looks. As a facilitator, he was serviceable, but is somewhat limited in terms of his court vision compared to the better point guards in the league. The other players they gave up, Gallinari and Muscala, both had their strong points, particularly Gallinari - who was injured all of 2022 - with his shooting ability, but ultimately didn't contribute significantly as Celtics.

In Porzingis, they get a big who can post up and score, something they've been lacking in recent years. Robert Williams and Al Horford both have their strong points, but post scoring isn't in that list. Kristaps' height, athleticism, and strength allow him versatility that isn't seen among many NBA bigs. While the Celtics are a great shooting team, under Mazzulla, they've relied too much on the three in some big moments. Having a player like him who can create high-percentage looks, get rebounds on the inside, and can even facilitate under the hoop a bit, can significantly simplify the offense for them. While Kristaps has had injury history, he played career-high 65 games last season, and had career-best points and shooting numbers in 2022.

The draft picks help ensure more promising young prospects. This year's pick from Memphis ended up turning into a whopping four second-round picks after an aggressive draft night from Brad Stevens, as well as Jordan Walsh, who they picked at 38, and adds depth and defensive intensity at a guard position that just lost a player that had that in spades. Overall, Stevens was able to secure an elite post scoring guard - who can perhaps work with Robert Williams in some threatening double-big lineups and net a large number of future draft picks, including next year's first rounder. Considering what the Celtics needed to start the offseason, this was a great move.


Memphis, in Marcus Smart, is getting a emotional leader that the team so desperately needs. For the Celtics, Marcus was the guy to make the tough stops, dive for balls, and rally the troops. The Grizzlies need leadership, and Marcus provides that. Furthermore, Smart gives them a facilitator who can guide their offense and create opportunities for their stars, as well as provide an injection of scoring and defense.

The Grizzlies needed this - they were lacking a true shooting wing defender, and with Ja Morant out for 25 games, they needed a quality point guard. Smart's going to get quality playing time regardless of whether or not Ja is in, but especially in the early portion of the season, Smart will play a tremendous role in the team.

Giving up a promising role player in Tyus Jones and draft picks is a heavy compensation, but as useful as Jones is in the regular season, he wasn't able to elevate his level in the big moments. In Smart, they have a playoff-hardened warrior who is very much able to do that. Furthermore, they possess a lot of young talent and despite those draft picks lost, they have a lot of assets.

For a team like the Grizzlies pushing for a title, Smart is an important piece to the puzzle.


On the surface, giving up Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis for almost any price makes no sense. However, even with those two superstars, the Wizards were seriously struggling. The team is in rebuilding mode and are on a five-year plan rather than prioritizing winning now. Such a squad needs young pieces, and they've got them with their transactions in the last couple of days.

Tyus Jones is a promising young guard who is underutilized in Memphis but is a versatile scorer and facilitator. Muscala may have not played much for the Celtics, but when he did, particularly in relief of injured Celtics starts, he was actually quite impressive. He's a surprisingly adept shooter for his size yet can still rebound and score serviceably in the post. Gallinari, if he can stay healthy is a proven scorer and an excellent shooter from three, and while he is on the older side at 34, he doesn't have a very abrasive style and still has some time left in the league. The Wizards also got the 35th pick from the Celtics, which is quite instrumental, as they will be building considerably through future drafts.

This year, the selection of Bilal Coulibaly, a defensively strong small forward who is also a capable scorer, adds an immediate contributor for the Wizards. The Chris Paul acquisition earlier in the week seemed counterintuitive to a rebuild, but the move made way more sense when the Wizards flipped the move towards acquiring Jordan Poole, as well as multiple assets. In a series of moves, the Wizards have officially started their rebuild off with a bang.


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