Boston Celtics radio commentator and former NBA Finals MVP Cedric Maxwell believes a Marcus Smart trade that would address the team’s frontcourt concerns could ultimately be the solution that turns the Celtics into a championship-contending team.
Maxwell, who isn’t excited about the thought of seeing the Celtics trade Smart, however, one proposed deal to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for the No.2 pick in this year’s draft changed the Celtics radio commentator’s tune in recent weeks.
He dove deep into the conversation Wednesday in his latest episode of the Cedric Maxwell Podcast.
James Wiseman & Golden State’s $17.2 Million Trade Exception
For Cedric, the idea of Boston earning the right to draft one of the country’s top prospects in James Wiseman – a young athletic big man who’s been compared to the likes of Bam Adebayo and Hassan Whiteside – is worth the risk of losing Smart.
“Is he the kind of guy you can grow with?” Maxwell asked. “Is he the 7-footer that you can grow with? Just think of it this way; if you have (Jayson) Tatum and (Jaylen) Brown and Wiseman together – three young players – that can be a foundation for a long time for what you’re able to do.”
The Warriors, a team that created a rare $17.2 million trade exception when they traded Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies in the summer of 2019, could use that exception to complete a proposed deal with the Celtics. Smart will make just under $13 million next season, meaning the Golden State could essentially acquire Marcus in exchange for the draft pick, straight up, and still have over $4 million to their disposal.
Gordon Hayward’s $34.2 Million Player-Option
Maxwell also believes Gordon Hayward’s looming $34.2 million one-year option will pressure the Celtics to make such a drastic change.
“The game has changed so much,” Maxwell said. “What do you do that is going to change the game and change the tenor as you as a team? You have two great players, you have two great young players in Tatum and Brown, Kemba’s still a great player, and what do you do with Gordon? Is Gordon a guy you’re going to still keep? Because Gordon is owed over $35 million ($34.2 million to be exact) next year – it’s a player’s option. He ain’t opting out of that, not like Al did.
“Al opted out of that to go to Philly where he had a wink-wink; we’re going to give you $100 million. So it’s a completely different situation.”
With Hayward’s $34.2 million tied to the cap, which is what Maxwell believes will ultimately be the case for the Celtics when Gordon opts-in, the Celtics legend believes Boston has to make this move to improve its frontcourt in order to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference.
“I think it’s Armageddon right now,” Maxwell said. “As much as I like this team and what they did, they’re going to have to upgrade because of Brooklyn, because Toronto’s going to be better because all of these teams are going to be better next year the Celtics will have to upgrade.”