The Celtics reportedly made a huge change to their roster, which might come down as a defining moment in Brad Stevens’ tenure as president of basketball operations.

Boston acquired Kristaps Porzingis and two first-round picks in a three-team deal that also sent Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Reports leading up to the deal that came around midnight Eastern time had Malcolm Brogdon in the trade, but the Los Angeles Clippers were worried about the veteran’s health and backed away, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

Porzingis should provide more depth at the center position, along with a similarly injury-prone Robert Williams III and a 37-year-old Al Horford. Smart’s departure signals an endorsement of Derrick White, who took a massive leap in his second season in Boston, and an end of a nine-year tenure with the Celtics for Smart.

The veteran was a bridge from the end of the “Big Three” era to the Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown duo. Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving came and went, but Smart was the constant and became the emotional leader and heartbeat of the Celtics, which endeared him to Boston fans.

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The Green will lose his toughness and his dedication to the C’s, but this offseason might have been the right time to move on. Smart will enter his age-30 season, and he has dealt with his fair share of injuries throughout his career. He’s been able to battle through them, but there might come a time when he’s unable to play the style of basketball he’s respected for.

Smart has three years left on his contract, and his trade value is at its highest. Stevens likely wanted to find the best deal to strike as soon as possible and obtain suitable value for a player who still can contribute.

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While Smart’s game would elevate in the postseason, there was enough inconsistency, especially in crunch time, that cast enough doubt on his fit with Tatum and Brown. The offense found a better flow with Tatum as the lead ballhandler, and players like White showed enough ability to create their own shot.

The Celtics likely aren’t done with their offseason moves. Brogdon’s trade value has worsened with the Clippers report, but it would not be a surprise if Boston shipped him off. The C’s could work a deal with the Atlanta Hawks for Dejoute Murray, who stylistically fits as a slasher, a more consistent 3-point shooter and a capable defender.

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Chris Paul’s status remains up in the air, too. If he ends up on the buyout market, he would be a capable lead ballhandler that would best suit the Celtics’ offense and he could be a vocal leader for the team.

The Denver Nuggets introduced new ideas on team-building in the modern NBA with their championship season. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic are not lock-down defenders, but the team had a great coaching staff led by Michael Malone and a solid core around their stars to support them. They also are high IQ players who at least tried defensively and always were in the right position for the team’s scheme.

Stevens likely is trying to find the right pieces that fit around Tatum and Brown. While there might not be a 1-to-1 replacement for the defensive intensity Smart brought, the Celtics should focus on building a cohesive defensive unit that makes up for other players’ deficiencies while also maintaining efficiency on offense.

While there are on-court replacements for Smart, the challenge for Joe Mazzulla and his new coaching staff will be the culture of the team. The veteran assistants that were hired this offseason will be tasked with helping build that culture, but the responsibility falls on Tatum and Brown. They must step up and be the leaders that can help Boston reach the next level and win Banner No. 18.

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