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The Bill Simmons Podcast

NBA Draftapalooza, Part 1: A Shocking Celtics Trade With Kevin O’Connor and Ryen Russillo

Thu Jun 22 2023

Celtics trade Marcus Smart and receive two first-round draft picks

00:02 - 06:46

  • The Celtics traded Marcus Smart, breaking up the Marcus Smart-Brad Stevens era.
  • Boston wanted to add size and fewer options in their guards.
  • They received two first-round draft picks, including number 25 this year and 2024 next year.
  • Porzingis was traded to the Celtics, Ties Jones and some contracts to the Wizards, and Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies.
  • Tyus Jones was included in the deal which surprised Risillo as he loves Tyus.
  • Marcus Smart wasn't the same guy defensively last year despite winning defensive player of the year last season.
  • This is a home run deal for Boston considering KP's career-best season on offense and still being good on defense for the Wizards.
  • Bill Simmons loved rooting for Marcus Smart but feels genuinely sad that he's gone. He was a great Celtic but not great enough to be the third guy on a team that won a title. The destiny of Marcus Martyr is ultimately missing that little piece in big moments.
  • Something needed to be shaken up with this team after five or seven years of going to conference finals without getting over the hump. This trade could help clear out his voice from locker room and allow Jalen Brown or Jayson Tatum take on more leadership roles.

Boston Celtics acquire Kristaps Porzingis

06:24 - 12:22

  • Boston Celtics needed another big man and they got it in Kristaps Porzingis.
  • Robert Williams is always hurt and Al Horford is 38 years old.
  • Porzingis gives the team a different look and high ceiling if he can stay healthy.
  • Marcus Smart was redundant as a guard, so trading him for Porzingis was a good move.
  • The trade also gave Boston two picks and more flexibility in their roster.
  • Porzingis played 65 games last year and has had major knee surgeries before, so there's some risk involved.
  • Joe House liked Porzingis last year and thought he was a good offensive player with certain matchups that were not great for him.

Porzingis brings lineup flexibility and offensive firepower to Celtics

11:56 - 17:56

  • Porzingis is a high-ceiling player who can be used to create more interesting lineups next season.
  • The Celtics can replace all of Smart's minutes with Brogdon and White, giving them more lineup flexibility.
  • Porzingis can space out the bigs on the perimeter and beat mismatches much better than before.
  • He is a much more complete offensive player now, making him the third option for Boston.
  • Porzingis is Al Horford insurance because he can space the floor and Robert Williams insurance because he can protect the rim.
  • The trade was a big win for Boston, especially since they got two draft picks out of it.

Memphis Grizzlies benefit from acquiring Marcus Smart

29:33 - 35:54

  • Marcus Smart is a great fit for the Memphis Grizzlies.
  • He will bring maturity and experience to the team.
  • Smart's style of play may not last into his mid-30s.
  • Memphis is taking a gamble on Smart's health and performance.
  • If Smart can tap into more of what he did in his prior season, they could be awesome on defense.
  • Smart will replace Dylan Brooks and be a better offensive presence for Memphis.
  • With Jared Jackson Jr.'s development on offense, they suddenly have an interesting offense that retains defense.
  • The fans are going to love him. Verno's going to be saying to you like the first month, oh my God, I can't believe you gave us Marcus Smart. You fucking idiots.

Impact of trading Marcus Smart on the Celtics

35:37 - 42:00

  • Boston Celtics may be letting go of Marcus Smart as his decline begins
  • Memphis Grizzlies are consolidating their assets and have too many picks and young players
  • Boston Celtics benefit from adding a young player to their bench with potential
  • Marcus Smart was an awesome guy, hugely impactful, durable, and loved being a Celtic
  • Marcus Smart lost his mother to cancer and has always been an unbelievable human being
  • Hope Marcus Smart thrives in Memphis and helps elevate the team to support Jared Jackson Jr. and John Moran
  • Trade is one where everyone hopes for mutual happiness

Potential draft picks and trade scenarios for the Celtics

23:15 - 30:02

  • Boston Celtics may be looking for young players to contribute early on, similar to Christian Brown last year.
  • Denver Nuggets' success with cheaper free agents like Jeff Green and Bruce Brown could be a model for the Celtics.
  • The Celtics have a pricey roster with everyone making 15 million dollars or more, leaving no room for cheap young players.
  • Finding a rotation player in the 20s is unlikely for bad teams, let alone the Celtics with their current roster.
  • Memphis Grizzlies' Desmond Bane is an excellent shooter who may not last long in the draft due to his skills.
  • Bad teams finding rotation players in the draft is slim, but it's still possible that Boston finds one down the road.
  • Mental toughness was an issue for the Celtics in previous seasons despite having Marcus Smart on their team.
  • Trading away Smart could be seen as trading away their heart and soul, but it might not matter if he wasn't helping them win games.

Trade implications for Washington and other potential trade partners

17:37 - 23:45

  • Memphis is likely to get the player they traded for.
  • Washington will try to be the worst team in the East.
  • There's no scenario where Washington might win.
  • They want to strip their team and do weird trades.
  • They want to be bad and absorb big contracts for expiring deals.
  • Michael Winger is going with a clean slate here, building up from scratch.
  • The Celtics are excited about numbers 25 and 35 picks in the draft.
  • It's unrealistic to think that they could trade 25 and Grant Lams and get up to like number 10 or number seven?
  • "Prichard" is the guy that they're using to dangle in some of those deals.
  • "Prichard" is equivalent value to an early second-round draft pick.
  • Miami at 18, Rockets at 20, Nets at 22, Atlanta at 15, Lakers at 17 are potential trade-up spots for Celtics.

Potential trade partners for the Celtics and concerns about Malcolm Brogdon

47:32 - 50:37

  • Atlanta is the other team at 15, but they seem to be wanting to trade up rather than down.
  • The Lakers are at 17 and could potentially trade down from multiple picks.
  • The Celtics could trade up with the Lakers, Heat, or Nets.
  • There were concerns about Malcolm Brogdon's foot when he was drafted by Boston.
  • The Clippers may have been interested in trading for Marcus Morris and keeping the 30th pick if they didn't like Brogdon's physical.
  • The Celtics are not done making moves and something will happen with Grant and picks 25 and 35.