Before he was traded to the Boston Celtics, Kristaps Porzingis had the opportunity to opt out of his contract with the Washington Wizards and tested the waters of free agency. Instead, he opted in, which paved the way for the Celtics to swoop in and trade for him.
During Celtics Media Day on October 2, Porzingis explained why he chose to be traded to the Celtics over potentially more money and a bigger role elsewhere.
“That’s what matters is winning. I had different opportunities to go somewhere else and maybe have a bigger role and maybe even make more money, but I wanted to come here. I wanted to come to Boston just because of the opportunity to play in such an iconic organization with great players that are already here that are very close and hopefully, I can come in here and bring more to that. The idea of that itself, I didn’t need to hear anything else. Now that I’m here, it’s an incredible feeling,” Porzingis said while talking with NBC Sports Boston.
Porzingis and the Celtics agreed to a two-year, $60 million extension on July 8, signifying that both sides want Porzingis to be a long-term factor in Boston.
Jayson Tatum’s Thoughts on Kristaps Porzingis
During Celtics Media Day, Jayson Tatum talked about how excited he was to play with someone like Porzingis given that he’s never played with someone like him before.
“I think he just adds another dynamic of versatility, right? As tall as he is, he can stretch the floor. I don’t think we’ve necessarily had a presence as tall as he is that is as talented as he is on the offensive end. I’m really excited about that. Somebody that can push the floor, spot up and shoot threes, and take it down to the post. Something that we really haven’t had to that level since I’ve been here so, I’m really, really excited to have him on our team,” Tatum said while talking with NBC Sports Boston.
Since coming to the Celtics, the best big men Tatum has played with have been the likes of Al Horford and Robert Williams III, both of whom have helped the Celtics go on multiple extended playoff runs. As Tatum alluded to, Porzingis’ rare length makes him a different breed from them or any other big man he’s played with. Porzingis’ one red flag is his inability to stay on the court, but the Celtics still thought acquiring him was a risk worth taking.
Kristaps Porzingis Says He’s Feeling Great
Deapite being on Latvia’s roster for the 2023 FIBA Tournament, Porzingis did not play due to plantar fasciitis. During Celtics Media Day, Porzingis declared that his foot is not an issue.
“Feeling great. No limitations. The medical staff did a great job of loading up slowly. Now as I’m getting close to training camp, we start tomorrow, (I’m) perfectly fine and ready to go,” Porzingis said per NBC Sports Boston.
That is good news for the Celtics with Porzingis calling himself healthy. It may not remain that way throughout the season, but at least the Celtics can take solace knowing there shouldn’t be any problems out of the gate. Porzingis also added that he could have played more last season, but didn’t because he was sick instead of injured, which is why he’s confident heading into this season.
“I could have played 70-plus games last season and I felt great throughout the year,” Porzingis said. “I missed most of the games actually because I was sick, not because of injuries and I expect that for myself again this season just being out there on the court also, all the games. I know the medical staff is going to do their part and tell me when I can and when I shouldn’t play but I want to play out there every game I can and I will make sure I do.”