Looming Kristaps Porzingis Deadline Could Jeopardize Celtics Blockbuster Trade

Kristaps Porzingis, Boston Celtics

Getty Kristaps Porzingis of the Washington Wizards against the Indiana Pacers.

Wednesday evening, the Boston Celtics made the splashy decision to strike on a trade for long-rumored target, Kristaps Porzingis. However, though all parties have agreed in principle on a deal, ultimately, the transaction hangs in the balance due to one specific factor.

ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that “there’s still more work and more conversation to be had” regarding the three-team blockbuster between the Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers, and Celtics, noting that Porzingis’ impending decision on his player option for the 2023-23 campaign could either make or break the blockbuster altogether.

“They have until midnight for Kristaps Porzingis to meet his deadline on his $36 million option for next season. Either he opts in and then he goes to Boston potentially as part of that trade or he could opt out and become a free agent,” Wojnarowski reported.

Should Porzingis opt into the final season of his current five-year, $158 million deal, per Wojnarowski, he would be heading to the Celtics as part of a multi-team exchange that would send reigning sixth-man of the year Malcolm Brogdon to the Clippers and a package headlined by Marcus Morris and the 30 overall selection in this year’s NBA Draft to the Wizards.

However, nothing can be made official until the former All-Star makes a decision on his player option for 2023-24, thus keeping this blockbuster in a state of purgatory for the time being.

UPDATE: Kristaps Porzingis, Celtics Trade Falls Through

At 10:22 PM (EST), ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the original three-team trade between the Celtics, Wizards, and Clippers centered around Kristaps Porzingis had officially fallen apart.

“The three-team talks on a Porzingis-Brogdon deal with Celtics, Wizards and Clippers have fallen apart, sources tell ESPN. Sides are moving on,” Wojnarowski reported.

In response to the report by Wojnarowski, Mass Live Celtics reporter Brian Robb broached the question of whether the breakdown of the blockbuster had to do with a potential desire from Porzingis to sign an extension this summer.

“Have to wonder if this had to do with Porzingis reportedly aiming for an extension,” Robb tweeted.

Had Kristaps Porzingis ultimately landed with the Celtics in this exchange, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Celtics shelling out an extension to the 27-year-old was the “expectation.”

Wizards Still Looking to Send Kristaps Porzingis to Celtics

The report of the initial trade falling through does not necessarily mean that Kristaps Porzingis still can’t find himself landing with the Celtics. At least, that’s what Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting, as he noted via Twitter that the Wizards are still looking into ways to send the big man to Boston.

“The Wizards are still working on ways to get Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics in an opt-in and trade scenario, but it won’t be in a three-way with the Clippers, sources tell ESPN. Porzingis still has the ability to decline his $36 million player option and become a free agent,” Wojnarowski tweeted.

Kristaps Porzingis is coming off of easily his best season since being selected to his lone All-Star Game back in 2017-18, as he posted stellar per-game averages of 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.5 blocks while shooting 49.8% from the field and 38.5% from deep through 65 games played in 2022-23.

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