The Boston Celtics are in the midst of quite the shake-up. That likely means roster changes will shortly be underway as new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens looks to put his personal touches on a team coming off a first-round exit and its worst record in six years.
Two names that will likely be readily brought up in trade talks this summer are Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker. Yet, neither are expected to actually be moved — Brown due to his upside and standing within the organization, and Walker because of his injuries, age (31) and massive salary ($73 million over two years). That likely leaves veteran guard Marcus Smart as the team’s most logical trade piece.
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Smart’s Reported Trade Value
Still one of the league’s more prominent on-ball, perimeter defenders, the 27-year-old is also fresh off the best offensive campaign of his seven-year career, posting career highs in both points (13.1) and assists (5.7). Readily engulfed in trade chatter at last March’s deadline, Smart brings the type of defensive versatility and tenacity that would entice any playoff-worthy team — or one would think.
According to Brian Robb of MassLive, finding worthy compensation for Smart on the trade market could prove to be a difficult endeavor.
“Marcus Smart is a useful trade chip but he only has one year left on his deal so his value is limited on the open market,” Robb wrote. “One league source told MassLive that getting a late first-round pick for Smart would be a challenge unless Boston took back an unattractive contract as part of the deal. For that reason, it might be tough for the Celtics to find a deal they like enough to move him.”
As Robb alluded to, Smart is entering the final season of his four-year deal and is set to make approximately $13.84 million in 2021-22.
NBA Execs Expect Cs to Trade Smart
While finding a suitor may prove more difficult than one may have previously expected, those within the league still expect the Celtics to pull the trigger on a Smart deal when all is said and done.
“I think they’ll trade Smart this summer if I had to guess,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “Retool around Tatum and Brown if they can get real value for Smart, but a lot up in the air there.” Another exec added that “their best bet would be to move Smart, but I don’t know what his market is. They could trade Brown to try to fill a different position, but that would be a bad move.”
Despite questions regarding his market, Smart still looks like Boston’s best bet of garnering a somewhat feasible return were he made available. Even if it takes some time for his market to build, his plus-defensive skillset should eventually garner interest on the market. While a team
would have to juggle the decision of taking a one-year flyer on the Oklahoma State product, if that team were over the salary cap it would acquire Smart’s Bird Rights in a deal, making re-signing him next summer a much easier process.
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