Kemba Walker’s days with the Boston Celtics are officially over. Could another prominent guard on the roster soon follow in his footsteps, punching a ticket out of Beantown?
Marcus Smart, the team’s longest-tenured player, has just one year remaining on his contract and is viewed within some NBA circles as the C’s best trade chip. While Brad Stevens and company likely still hold the team’s defensive stalwart and emotional leader in high regard, the exponential tax bill attached to re-signing Evan Fournier, alongside the prospect of bringing in another point guard to replace Walker, could make Smart the odd man out in Boston.
If this proves to be the case, the Atlanta Hawks could be waiting for Smart with open arms.
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Marcus Smart Floated as the ‘Perfect Trade Target’ for the Hawks
Although Smart did make leaps and bounds on the offensive end this season, averaging career-highs in both points (13.1) and assists (5.7), his offensive prowess certainly falls short of his All-NBA defensive traits. With that said, any offensive limitations likely won’t faze the Hawks, as they already have one of the league’s premier scorers at their disposal in All-Star Trae Young.
As Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz noted, Atlanta doesn’t need a “superstar” to team up with Young. Rather what they need is a seamless fit alongside Young, one who helps aid in his defensive shortcomings. And according to Swartz, no one fits that bill better than Smart, who was dubbed the Hawks’ “perfect offseason trade target.”
The Hawks don’t need to be on the hunt for a superstar, but rather players who fit in well beside franchise player Trae Young as they continue their ascent to the top of the East.
While Young is already one of the league’s best offensive threats, his physical limitations (6’1″ height, 6’2″ wingspan) mean he’ll probably always be a lousy defender who opponents seek to attack. Putting Smart on the floor next to Young allows the two-time All-Defensive team member to take on the toughest assignment every night. This means less strain on Young to defend, letting him focus his efforts on carrying the offense.