Proposed Blockbuster Would Send Out Marcus Smart for Star Sharpshooter

Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics

Getty Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics’ need for a point guard continues to hamper their season, despite Marcus Smart’s admirable efforts since moving to the starting lineup, leading some to believe a trade is the only way to get the team back on track.

“One team I had heard had interest in Marcus Smart, at least before Neil Olshey got fired, was Portland. I wonder if there is something to be done there. When you look at Portland, you look at the Celtics; if the Celtics were to package a pick with Marcus Smart and maybe Al Horford, you’d have enough salary there where you could get back a C.J. McCollum.

You’d have to have another salary in there like a (Robert) Covington or a (Jusuf) Nurkic—some kind of expiring contract. I don’t think the Celtics are in a position to take back a lot of money,” Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney said during a recent episode of Heavy on NBA With Sean Deveney and Steve Bulpett.


Heavy on NBA With Sean Deveney and Steve BulpettNBA insiders Sean Deveney and Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com discuss the latest news surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and the rest of the NBA.2022-01-20T16:05:55Z

Smart, who signed a four-year $76 million contract extension during the summer, has quickly proven himself as one of the team’s best playmakers. However, it’s fair to say that the other side to that coin is Smart’s stock has risen due to some impressive performances, and teams may be interested in a defensively inclined playmaker on a long-term deal.


Playmaking Guards Are in Short Supply

Unfortunately, Smart’s efforts have been in vain, as the Celtics sit 9th in the Eastern Conference after 46 games. Head coach Ime Udoka has been steadfast in his belief that the Celtics’ best chance of success is from a pass-heavy offense that utilizes off-ball movement and screening actions.

Yet, the teams that run that type of system best usually have an elite playmaker on their roster, be it a guard or a modern point forward. Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett made a good point during his podcast with Deveney, noting that the NBA no longer has an abundance of playmaking guards.

“I wonder if Marcus is best suited to the role he’s in as the starting point guard. It’s clear that Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown really need a Chris Paul, Lonzo Ball-type point guard. And the problem with that is, a Chris Paul, Lonzo Ball-type point guard, that group is pretty much limited to Chris Paul and Lonzo Ball.

There aren’t a whole lot of those types of guys around. But Marcus does stuff for you that you need done. Does the dirty work, is on the floor, all those things. He’s not a bad outside shooter but you can question his shot selection at times. He’s going 100 all the time, for better or worse,” Steve Bulpett said.

Then, it makes sense that the Celtics continue trying to develop Tatum and Brown as facilitators while leaning on their other talented passers to keep the wheels turning while those developments take place.


Smart Has Trade Value Around the League

“I think people would be surprised at how he’s viewed around the league in terms of his value. There are really, really good teams in the NBA that would love to get their hands on Marcus Smart because he is like one of those ultra-complementary pieces. He’s a Draymond Green-type,” Bulpett told Deveney.

People often deliberate over what teams would value Smart’s skillset. Would it be a contending roster looking for the final piece to the puzzle or a team entering a rebuild that sees Smart’s leadership style as a culture setter? The most logical answer is most teams would make room for a player like Smart.

However, some teams make more sense than others. For example, the Atlanta Hawks need defense alongside Trae Young’s scoring, and it’s a similar story for the Charlotte Hornets and LaMelo Ball. The Philadelphia 76ers would likely welcome Smart to give them the best defensive unit in the NBA, while the Golden State Warriors would see Smart’s value as a second-unit floor general.

And, of course, the Portland Trail Blazers are in desperate need of a reboot and could see Smart as the perfect start to their rebuilding puzzle. Unfortunately, and deal for the Celtics veteran guard will need to wait until the end of January, with league-wide rules forbidding him from being traded until closer to the trade deadline following his recent contract extension.

Fan opinion on a potential Smart trade is split, as always. But if the Celtics want to steady the ship, trading their “emotional leader” could be a necessary evil, if not now, then perhaps in the off-season.

 

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