Boston Celtics

Checking in on former Celtics at the season's halfway point

Here's how Marcus Smart and other ex-C's have fared so far in 2023-24.

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Forty-one games down, 41 to go for the Boston Celtics.

The C's officially eclipsed the midway point in their 2023-24 season with Wednesday's 117-98 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Thanks partly to key offseason additions Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday, Boston sits comfortably atop the Eastern Conference standings with a league-best 32-9 record.

Meanwhile, the players who parted ways with Boston last summer have seen less-than-stellar results in their respective campaigns. Injuries have plagued some, others have struggled in their new environment, and two have already found a new home with another team.

Let's check in on a few former Celtics before the second half begins.

Marcus Smart, Memphis Grizzlies

In June, the Celtics traded their then-longest-tenured player to the Grizzlies in the three-way deal that brought Kristaps Porzingis over from the Washington Wizards. Smart embraced the fresh start, but it's been a less-than-ideal first season in Memphis for the former Defensive Player of the Year.

With star guard Ja Morant serving his 25-game suspension, the Grizzlies started their season with an abysmal 2-9 record. Smart was one of their few bright spots before he suffered a left foot sprain on Nov. 14. That injury caused him to miss his first game against Boston on Nov. 19, which resulted in a 102-100 Celtics win.

Smart provided an instant spark in his return to the lineup on Dec. 26. But just a few games later on Jan. 9, he sustained a ruptured joint in his right ring finger that will force him to miss at least the next six weeks, including his anticipated Feb. 4 return to TD Garden. His injury came shortly after Morant underwent season-ending surgery to repair a labral tear in his right shoulder.

These unfortunate events have contributed to the Grizzlies sitting in 13th place in the Western Conference standings with a 15-26 record. Smart has been effective when healthy, averaging a career-high 14.5 points with 4.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.1 steals in 20 games.

Malcolm Brogdon, Portland Trail Blazers

Brogdon was sent to the Blazers just before the season as part of the package that brought Holiday to Boston. The 2022-23 Sixth Man of the Year has started 17 of his 31 games played with Portland thus far.

In those 31 games, Brogdon has continued to produce. The 31-year-old has averaged 14.8 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.4 rebounds in 26.8 minutes after averaging 14.9 points, 3.7 assists, and 4.2 rebounds in 26 minutes through 67 games with the C's. His field goal percentage, however, has dropped from 48.4 in Boston to 43.4 in Portland.

Brogdon is a name to keep tabs on leading up to the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline. The Trail Blazers are second to last in the West standings with an 11-29 record as they navigate their first season of the post-Damian Lillard era and Brogdon is one of their best trade chips.

Robert Williams, Portland Trail Blazers

A change of scenery didn't benefit Time Lord, whose first season with Portland was cut short after just six games due to a season-ending knee injury. Williams suffered his latest setback in a collision with Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. on Nov. 5.

Williams averaged 6.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1.2 steals in his six games off the bench with the Blazers. The big man is expected to make a full recovery for the 2024-25 campaign, but this injury continues a troubling trend. He tore his left meniscus in March 2022 and missed the start of the 2022-23 season with Boston after undergoing a second procedure on his left knee.

Grant Williams, Dallas Mavericks

In July, the Celtics sent Grant Williams to the Dallas Mavericks in a three-team deal involving the San Antonio Spurs. Williams spent his first four NBA seasons as a key bench piece for the C's

The 25-year-old made a name for himself in Boston as a physical 3-and-D wing. However, the first half of his debut season in Dallas has left plenty to be desired. Williams is averaging 8.2 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 41.3 percent from the floor (36.9 percent from 3) in 38 games (27 starts) with the Mavs. Those shooting percentages mark Williams' lowest since his rookie year.

Danilo Gallinari, Detroit Pistons

The Celtics signed Gallinari in the summer of 2022 with the expectation he would provide consistent scoring off the bench. Unfortunately, the Italian forward never got to play for Boston due to a torn ACL he suffered while playing for the Italian national team at the FIBA World Cup.

Last offseason, Boston sent Gallinari and Mike Muscala to the Wizards as part of the Porzingis deal. Gallinari appeared in 26 games off the bench for Washington, averaging 7.0 points and 2.9 rebounds while shooting 43.5 percent from the floor in 14.8 minutes.

Last Sunday, the Wizards traded Gallinari and Muscala to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Marvin Bagley, Isaiah Livers, and two second-round picks. Gallinari has yet to appear in a game for Detroit.

Mike Muscala, Detroit Pistons

Muscala averaged 4.0 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor in 24 games (two starts) for Washington. The 32-year-old, who played in 20 games for Boston after being acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder at last year's deadline, debuted for Detroit on Wednesday. He didn't score, but he tallied three rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 15 minutes.

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