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Celtics acquire Warriors 2024 pick

Sure, Kristaps Porzingis and Marcus Smart are changing teams, but we know the Warriors top-4 protected pick is the real prize.

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Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics
Marcus Smart and Kristaps Porzingis, before they knew they’d be trading lives
Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images

If the Golden State Warriors weren’t already motivated to rebound from a disappointing 2022-23 season, they just got some more incentive: Giving the Boston Celtics the worst draft pick possible.

That’s because Boston made a blockbuster three-team deal with the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies, sending Marcus Smart to Memphis, Kristaps Porzingis to Boston, and Tyus Jones to Washington. The Wizards also get new team president Michael Winger’s favorite thing in the whole world: Expiring contracts.

This makes a lot of sense for every team involved. After dealing Bradley Beal to the Suns, Washington is clearly tanking, and Porzingis was their highest-paid player. They also get a one-year flyer on Jones.

Memphis wanted to send Jones to a place where he’d have a chance to be a full-time starting point guard. And with Dillon Brooks leaving, they needed to get another player who has severely injured a Golden State guard. Plus, Smart shoved a fan in college. The Grizzlies love fighting with fans!

Boston wanted to cut long-term salary and they hate it when their players know how to dribble. Once Malcolm Brogdon’s arm injury scuttled a trade to the Clippers, their only other option to cut salary and assist totals was to deal Smart. They also got a white player in return, not that it matters to the famously color-blind fans of Boston.

They also got a legendary theoretical Warriors: A top-4 protected pick in next June’s draft. That pick has an illustrious history. It was originally sent to Memphis in 2019 along with Andre Iguodala and cash, in order to facilitate the sign-and-trade of Kevin Durant for D’Angelo Russell. That led to the Andrew Wiggins trade, which also brought the Warriors the pick that turned into Jonathan Kuminga who is a big part of the Warriors’ future trade bait for a better draft pick.

That deal sparked the relatively one-sided Warriors-Grizzlies feud, after Iguodala and team management agreed he didn’t have to report to the team. That infuriated Brooks, and when Iguodala returned to the Warriors in 2021, Brooks got so mad that he claimed the Grizzlies were a dynasty.

Of note: The Warriors’ return in the Iguodala trade was Julian Washburn, son of Chris Washburn, the Warriors’ No. 3 pick in 1986 and perhaps the biggest draft bust in team history.

Whoever’s selected with the pick will join the pantheon of players drafted by other teams with future Warriors picks. Like Jason Terry, Mike Miller, Rodney Hood, Josh Hart, Gorgui Dieng, Rumeal Robinson and Petteri Koponen.

Now the 2024 pick (protected 1-4) will be finding a new home in Boston, where Brad Stevens is following in the footsteps of his mentor Danny Ainge and hoarding draft picks. The quality of the pick obviously depends on how well the Warriors do next season, but we can probably say it’s unlikely to end up 1-4.

What’s the best outcome for the Warriors? They finish with the league’s best record, win the title, and the pick ends up at No. 30. And after a disappointing freshman year at USC, Bronny James’ stock drops until he’s selected by Boston, putting LeBron, the Lakers, and the Celtics all in position for a very awkward off-season.

The fans need it, ESPN needs it, and most of all, the blogs need it. Help us, top-4 protected 2024 Warriors pick. You’re our only hope.

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