Newly-acquired Boston Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis spoke to the media on Thursday, marking the first time he’d done so since being traded away from the Washington Wizards last week. Porzingis had a simple message for reporters at the Auerbach Center, centered around his excitement to help the franchise compete for its 18th NBA Championship.
“Very excited when I first heard the news, and it was a pretty easy decision for me,” Porzingis said, per NBC Sports Boston. “The opportunity to play for a really good team already and be able to add to that and hopefully to help these guys, make their life even easier, and just being on a high level organization like Boston, a historic franchise like Boston, an iconic franchise, made it an even easier decision.”
Porzingis didn’t have to be traded this summer in order to leave Washington. He had the option to decline his $36 million player-option and become an unrestricted free agent. Instead, he elected to opt in, knowing that he’d be headed to Boston via trade. Nothing is official yet, but the Celtics’ new No. 8 is expected to work out a contract extension for an extra two years.
Adding Kristaps Porzingis is a great win for the Boston Celtics
There’s no way to dance around it, it’s absolutely brutal that the Cs had to give up Marcus Smart in order for this to happen.
Even with the heartbreaking loss of the nine-year Celtic vet, Porzingis should be considered a welcome addition by the fanbase. At 27 years old — 28 by the time the 2023-24 season starts — Porzingis is coming off perhaps the best campaign of his career.
He appeared in 65 games for the Wizards last season — his most since 2017. In those appearances, he averaged a career-high 23.2 points per game to go along with 8.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.5 blocks each time out.
The efficiency numbers were there as well. Porzingis converted 49.8% of his attempts from the floor and 38.5% from beyond the arc.
On top of that, he was amongst the league’s top pick-and-roll defenders last season, which was an area where Boston needed help in the postseason. They were torn to pieces by the likes of Trae Young and James Harden, who acted as ball handlers in that sequence.
Having the Latvian under contract for seasons to come will also help when 37-year-old Al Horford eventually succumbs to Father Time.
The two share a similar skill set, which Horford has proven is a great fit in Boston’s lineup.