Gauging Marcus Smart’s trade value has been quite the rollercoaster this offseason. Not so long ago, it appeared as if the Boston Celtics would be thin on suitors should they shop their perceived starting point guard. Back in June, a league source cited the 27-year-old’s expiring contract as the main culprit for why “getting a late first-round pick for Smart would be a challenge unless Boston took back an unattractive contract as part of the deal,” per Mass Live’s Brian Robb.
Contrastingly, Bleacher Report named the defensive stalwart as the closest thing the Celtics have to a potential “blockbuster chip” on their roster. Since then, much of the speculation surrounding the former No. 6 overall selection has not only followed suit with B/R’s take, but built upon it to exponential heights.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix and The Athletic’s Jason Quick and have each floated the possibility of Smart yielding Boston the services of 23.1 points per game scorer C.J. McCollum in a deal with Portland this summer. Celtics insider Jared Weiss added to the fuel, claiming that the inclusion of Smart in a deal should at the very least bring the Blazers “to the [trade] table.” This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as essentially every big-name proposal put out there of late has Smart as the key draw from the opposing team’s perspective.
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons took a different route in his Smart speculation, noting that he believes the Oklahoma State product’s current value is worthy of a top-10 pick in return, preferably somewhere between pick No. 7 and pick No. 9 overall — a notion that Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale believes has taken Smart’s trade value into unrealistic territory.
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Smart Garnering a Top-10 is a ‘Pipe Dream’?
Favale wasn’t completely against Simmons’ take, admitting that the thought of Smart either being extended or traded in the next month or so “somewhat tracks.”
“For the Celtics, it makes sense they would either trade or extend Smart. They can offer him a deal that starts as high as $17.2 million in 2022-23, a number he could feasibly get from other teams in free agency,” Favale wrote. “If they’re not willing to go that far, or if he rejects the offer in anticipation of fatter overtures, they’d do well to shop him around rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer.”
However, it’s the perceived draft compensation where Favale and Simmons begin to detach in their opinions. In his latest B.S. meter column, the B/R columnist stated the thought of the Celtics “netting a top-10 pick for his [Smart’s] services feels like a pipe dream.”
“But in exchange for a top-10 pick? That feels steep unless other moving parts are involved. Smart is a genuine lockdown defender, someone who, at only 6’3″, can match up with everyone from point guards to certain power forwards. His outside shot has improved, too,” Favle noted. “Still, teams aren’t just going to fork over a mid-lottery selection for a non-star on the verge of cashing in during free agency. Looking at the draft order between Nos. 6 and 12 doesn’t yield a whole bunch of options, either. Smart doesn’t jibe with the timelines of non-contenders like Oklahoma City (No. 6), Orlando (No. 8), Sacramento (No. 9), New Orleans (No. 10), Charlotte (No. 11) or even San Antonio (No. 12).”
Celtics Continue to Back Smart
Boston’s decision on extending Smart — one way or another — will ultimately tell us how they truly feel about him. However, as of now, we can only go off of what the Celtics have given us publically. And while numerous insiders (and outsiders) have continued to engulf the guard in trade chatter, the organization has readily verbalized their backing of their longest-tenured player.
“He [Smart] has that edge and toughness about him, so the things he brings to your team are the things you love every player to bring. You hate playing against him, but you want him on your side,” head coach Ime Udoka told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand Show. “He’s another foundational piece. He’s been here through thick and thin, seen the winning and seen some down times. What he does for Jayson and Jaylen is invaluable in my eyes.”