Celtics Had Held ‘Serious’ Trade Talks Surrounding Star: Report

Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics

Getty Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics

Marcus Smart has been the Boston Celtics‘ longest-tenured player. After being drafted sixth overall by the team in 2014, Smart has been on the roster every year the team has made the playoffs. While both the Celtics and Smart have shown loyalty to one another, there was a point in time in which Smart was almost traded in the offseason.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Celtics almost had a deal in place on the night of the 2019 NBA Draft in which Smart, along with the 22nd overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, would have been traded to the Houston Rockets for Clint Capela. The deal ultimately fell apart because the player who the Rockets wanted to take with that pick had been selected before they would have had the chance, according to Fischer.

In 2019, when Jazz CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge was still the president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics, they held serious draft night trade discussions with the Houston Rockets about acquiring Clint Capela for Marcus Smart and the No. 22 pick, sources told B/R. The agreed-in-principle deal ultimately fell short, but the Rockets were targeting Brandon Clarke before the Memphis Grizzlies swept in to steal the Gonzaga product at No. 21.

Around that time, Al Horford had opted out of the final year of his contract with the Celtics, causing many to speculate that he was leaving. Trading for Capela would have given the Celtics a starting center to compensate for losing Horford, who left for the Philadelphia 76ers that summer.

Celtics Shopped Smart Around at the Trade Deadline

Because of Smart’s reputation as one of the league’s better defenders, teams have expressed interest in acquiring him to the Celtics as recently as this year’s trade deadline. Even though the Celtics were considered buyers during the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline, they listened to what interested parties had to offer.

One of those interested parties was the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to Darren Wolfson of SKOR North. Even though the Timberwolves wanted Smart to help them in their playoffs, Brad Stevens’ demands of Malik Beasley and either Jaden McDaniels or a first-round pick was apparently too high a price to pay for Smart on Minnesota’s end.

Smart of course is still on the team and helped guide the Celtics to the 2022 NBA Finals. These two trade discussions indicate that the Celtics aren’t interested in trading Smart unless it’s for someone who fits a position of need or an upgrade.

Capela Could Be on the Move Again

Capela, who is now with the Atlanta Hawks, could be traded again this summer. In Fischer’s report about the trade that would have sent Smart to Houston for Capela, he later added that Atlanta could move Capela, along with two other Hawks and a draft pick, to the Utah Jazz in exchange for three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert.

There has been plenty of talk among league personnel that some combination of Capela, John Collins, Kevin Huerter and the No. 16 pick could be routed to Utah for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

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