Marcus Smart Breaks Silence on Celtics’ Blockbuster Trade Talks

Marcus Smart, Celtics

Getty Marcus Smart, Celtics

It’s easy to forget now that Marcus Smart has established himself as the NBA Defensive Player of the Year and as the kind of point guard who can start on a championship contender, but there was a time when Smart was often featured as the lead guy in trade rumors that swirled around the Celtics.

It was just a little more than a year ago, after all, that Sports Illustrated reported that Brad Stevens was “frustrated” with Smart’s play and that it was “more likely” that Smart would be traded before the start of the 2021-22 season. There had been rumored trade talks with Atlanta last spring, as well as a spate of rumors that would have had Smart going to Golden State two years ago.

Nothing happened, of course. And that’s what always sticks with Smart, even as it was Jaylen Brown—not Smart—being pulled through the trade wringer this summer.

“For someone who’s always talked about in trade talks, I didn’t really pay too much mind to that. Until it actually happens, I don’t believe it,” Smart told The Athletic in an interview published Wednesday.

Marcus Smart: ‘I Try to Pay Trade Rumors No Mind’

Before Brown became the subject of so much speculation in late July and August, when a leak that likely originated from the Nets suggested that Brooklyn and Boston had exchanged proposals on a deal that would swap Brown for Kevin Durant, the Celtics did have a productive summer, trading for point guard Malcolm Brogdon and adding big man Danilo Gallinari, who subsequently suffered a knee injury that will keep him out all of next year.

But Brown’s inclusion in trade rumors became the story for the Celtics, despite some pushback from the organization indicating that discussions with the Nets were never all that substantive.

Smart sounded annoyed by the whole process, and he probably should be. While, in the end,  Brown will likely handle the Durant talk with professionalism, there’s still a chance that the leaked offers will dent team chemistry.

“We can sit here and say this person said this, but we don’t even know who said it,” Smart said. “It’s like a telephone game. By the time it gets back to you, you don’t know what changed and who said what. Until it actually happens, I try to pay trade rumors no mind.”

For Celtics, 95% of Playoff Minutes Are Returning

In the end, the Celtics are poised to come back with much the same team that it had in the playoffs, the team that swept the Nets, ground past the Bucks and Heat and eventually lost in six games to the Warriors. Of the 5,761 minutes logged by Celtics players in last year’s postseason, only 307 of those minutes came from players who are no longer on the roster—just 5.3%.

The Celtics’ extremely effective starting five of Smart, Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Robert Williams is expected to be on the floor for opening night. For all the talk of Brown and Durant, Smart knows, that’s all that matters.

“I am glad to be able to say we have the team still together,” Smart said. “We made a run and we left a little bit on the table. We want to run it back.”

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