Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 21: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Washington Wizards looks on against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at Capital One Arena on October 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Safe to say that the Celtics have an awful lot invested in Kristaps Porzingis.

And that’s before the Latvian big has even played a game for the club.

Acquired from the Wizards just before the official start of the NBA offseason, the Celtics parted with heart-and-soul guard Marcus Smart to help bring Porzingis to Boston. That alone was a strong deviation from the original trade plans, which called for the Celtics to part with the injured Malcolm Brogdon in the trade.

The Celtics then hammered out a two-year, $60 million extension with Porzingis, who came to Boston with just one year remaining on his current contract. That alone was the C’s making a heavy investment, and in a definite win-now window with the upcoming tax tightness coming for the team with the Jaylen Brown supermax contract and inevitable Jayson Tatum supermax contract around the corner.

  • So, with all that said, there’s no way the club is enjoying the latest report that’s coming out in regards to Porzingis and his health ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

    According to a report from Rupert Fabig, there’s a foot injury that could lead to Porzingis missing the entirety of the tournament, which is set to begin on Aug. 25, and with games in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan. Fabig noted that while the injury could keep him out for the entire tournament, the Celtics and Porzingis will make a decision regarding his availability at “the last moment.”

  • WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 28: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Washington Wizards celebrates against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Capital One Arena on November 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

    WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 28: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Washington Wizards celebrates against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Capital One Arena on November 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

    There’s just something about new Celtic additions and the FIBA World Cup, so there’s a good chance that everybody with even a slight rooting interest in the Celtics is screaming that there’s no point in waiting until ‘the last minute’ and that the team should rule him out for the tournament right now.

    It was around this time last year that the Celtics found out that they would be without Danillo Gallinari for the entire 2022-23 campaign after the veteran wing suffered a torn ACL playing for Italy in World Cup play.

    Gallinari would ultimately miss the entire season, and his loss was certainly felt when the Celtics found themselves ultimately outworked by a deeper Heat team. Not in talent per se, but in terms of its bench’s ability to score some key points during non-Jimmy Butler minutes. This was especially true with Brogdon playing at less than 100 percent, and with Grant Williams a painfully hot-and-cold scoring option.

    And given what the Celtics have moved out this season, they absolutely cannot afford to run a risk of any sort when it comes to the availability of Porzingis to begin his Boston career at anything less than 100 percent.

  • CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 07: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Washington Wizards shoots a free throw against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center on December 07, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 07: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Washington Wizards shoots a free throw against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center on December 07, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    The 7-foot-3 Porzingis will make his move from Washington to Boston after a 2022-23 campaign headlined by a career-high in points per game (23.2 point) and field goal percentage (49.8 percent).

    In addition to the career-highs, the Latvian-born Porzingis shot 38.5 percent from beyond the arc, which was his second-best single season total, trailing only a 39.5 percent mark with the Knicks in 2017-18. Porzingis also averaged 8.4 rebounds per game (his fourth-best single-season average and his fourth season of at least eight boards per game), while his 2.7 assists per game were his second-best single-season average.

    Porzingis was also one of just three players to average at least 20 points, eight rebounds, and one block during the 2022-23 season, with the Lakers’ Anthony Davis and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid the others in that club.

  • WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Washington Wizards reacts against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half at Capital One Arena on February 08, 2023 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

    Kristaps Porzingis of the Wizards reacts against the Hornets during a game at Capital One Arena. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

    Brad Stevens and the Celtics are also clearly thrilled with the various lineup complexions and options that Porzingis can and will bring to the Celtics frontcourt.

    “Kristaps can play with any combination of our players,” Stevens said of Porzingis earlier this summer. “He can play with Rob [Williams], he can play with Al [Horford], he can play as a stand alone five. He has just gotten better, better, and better. He was already good, but he just took another step. He can play defensively the way we want to, he is a deterrent at the rim, and he’s a super-skilled basketball player. We didn’t post a ton this year, but to be able to throw the ball in the post and just shoot over a switch and do it so efficiently and effectively is a big deal.

    “He brings a lot to our team. You can envision some of the lineups we can put out there size-wise right now… pretty intriguing. And not without dropping any skill at all, which is a good thing.”

    So, with all that said, keeping Porzingis out of FIBA action should be the no-brainer of no-brainers for the Celtics.

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