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Marcus moved: Celtics send Smart to Memphis in shocking trade

Marcus Smart's tenacity and leadership had come to epitomize the Boston Celtics during their resurgence over the past several seasons. Smart, a three-time NBA All-Defense selection, meshed with scoring stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum on the offensive end -- and hounded opponents' best players every night.

But now, he'll be doing that in a Memphis Grizzlies uniform.

The Celtics traded Smart to Memphis on Wednesday night as part of a reworked deal for Washington Wizards star Kristaps Porzingis -- who will pick up his $36 million player option and likely sign an extension as part of the three-team swap.

Initial Porzingis trade collapses

When last we left the Celtics, they were on the verge of acquiring Porzingis as part of a trade proposal that also included the Los Angeles Clippers. But that trade formula fell apart late Wednesday night, as concerns were registered over the health of pint guard Malcolm Brogdon -- who was set to join the Clippers in the deal.

Boston instead found a new trade partner in Memphis -- which, according to Wojnarowski, had been looking for a guard just like Smart to complement and temporarily replace -- Ja Morant, who is suspended for the first 25 games of next season.

Smart and Morant -- a championship guard duo?

The Grizzlies' 2022/23 season ended in bitter disappointment. Not only was the West's #2 seed bounced in the first round, but Memphis learned after the NBA Finals that its 23-year-old franchise point guard would miss roughly one-third of the 2023/24 season.

But Smart, who has played both point and shooting guard in his nine-year career, is more than capable of filling the Morant void until the troubled star returns from his latest league-enforced absence.

Smart is also signed for the long haul. He has three years remaining on his contract at a reasonable cap hit, giving the Grizzlies a tough, resilient partner for Morant -- as well as someone who can share the load with him as Memphis seeks NBA legitimacy, let alone championship contention.

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