Marcus Smart’s recent play has Celtics fans feeling awfully good about their current backcourt situation. As Brian Robb of Mass Live put it, this might be the best two-week stretch of the guard’s career in Boston. Having said that, could his recent surge in play be nothing more than a farewell tour?
According to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson, the Minnesota Timberwolves are “definitely” trying to trade for Smart. And by the sound of it, the Cs may be willing to play ball. That is, with a decent enough haul in return.
Appearing on Skor North’s “Mackey & Judd” podcast on February 3, Wolfson noted that “unless (the Timberwolves) include a first-round pick or Jaden McDaniels in addition to Malik Beasley, (a deal) most likely doesn’t get done.”
Minnesota is one of the hottest teams in the West. Their seven victories over their last 10 games are the third-most in the conference and have catapulted them squarely into playoff contention. As for Smart, the 27-year-old has averaged 11 points, 6.6 assists and 3.7 rebounds since returning to Boston’s lineup on January 23.
Celtics Have Clear Interest in Beasley
The Athletic’s Jared Weiss reported on February 2 that the Celtics had already previously delved into the Beasley market, but were sent away when the Wolves decided they’d rather “maintain flexibility for bigger moves at the deadline.”
Per Weiss, Boston explored a deal that would have sent veteran Josh Richardson and one of their young wings (either Romeo Langford or Aaron Nesmith) to Minnesota in exchange for Beasley.
A 25-year-old Georgia native, Beasley is in the midst of a somewhat down campaign, averaging 12.1 points per game on 37.5% shooting from the floor and 34.8% from three. However, he’s proven capable of putting the ball in the basket with consistency in the past. Coming off a career-high 19.6 points per game average in 2020-21, Beasley knocked down at least 39.9% of his attempts from beyond the arc in three of his previous four seasons entering this year. The Celtics remain one of the league’s worst 3-point shooting teams, connecting on just 34.1% of their attempts (22nd in the NBA).
Financially, Beasley is currently in the second year of a four-year, $60 million contract with a club option for 2023-24, per Spotrac.
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Celtics Top Pistons
It may have taken until the brink of the All-Star break, but the Celtics look to finally be hitting their stride. With a 102-93 victory over the Detroit Pistons on February 4, Boston notched their fourth-consecutive victory — a season-high. Now at 29-25 on the season, the C’s currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
“We’re coming out with the right focus from the start,” head coach Ime Udoka told reporters of his team after the win over Detroit. “Obviously, 31 points (allowed) in the first half, 16-of-50 (shooting by Detroit) in the first three quarters… we guarded extremely well for the most part of the game until the end there, obviously. But coming out with the right mindset on both ends of the floor, having good carryover, and showing more consistency.”