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Veteran Paul joins Warriors

JONATHAN BACHMAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE CHRIS Paul is set to run the backcourt of the Golden State Warriors.

National Basketball Association veteran guard Chris Paul is headed from Washington to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Jordan Poole, US media reported Thursday as trade dominoes fell ahead of the draft.

Hours before the draft was set to confirm French phenomenon Victor Wembanyama’s arrival at the San Antonio Spurs, who have the first selection, teams around the league were starting to move talent.

The Wizards, who acquired Paul from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for three-time All-Star Bradley Beal on Sunday, will receive Poole, Ryan Rollins and two future draft picks, San Jose Mercury News reported.

Paul, a 12-time All-Star and a five-team season assists leader, has never won an NBA title in a career that has included stops in New Orleans, the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston, Oklahoma City and for the past three seasons in Phoenix.

Over 18 NBA campaigns Paul has averaged 17.9 points, 9.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.

Other moves reported as the draft approached included the Washington Wizards sending Kristaps Porzingis to Boston in a three-team deal that will send Celtics talisman Marcus Smart to Memphis.

ESPN reported that the Grizzlies sent their first-round pick in the draft — the 25th overall selection — to Boston, while the Celtics sent the 35th pick in the draft to the Wizards.

Boston will also send forward Danilo Gallinari and center Mike Muscala to Washington as part of the trade, ESPN reported.

Latvian star Porzingis, the fourth overall selection in the 2015 draft, averaged a career-high 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 blocks in 65 games last season for the Wizards, who acquired him at the 2022 trade deadline from the Dallas Mavericks.

The Celtics will be hoping adding Porzingis to a lineup already featuring All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown helps them again challenge for a title, after falling to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals in 2022 and to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals this season.

But life without Smart will be a big adjustment for Boston.

In nine years with the club, Smart was a key motivator. The longest-tenured player on the roster, he was also a versatile defender.

The Grizzlies will be hoping he’ll provide them with the same heart as they seek to bounce back from a first-round playoff exit to the Los Angeles Lakers and the suspension of star Ja Morant over the first 25 games of next season.

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