Celtics Mainstay Is Over Down Year: ‘Just Starting Fresh’

Marcus Smart Celtics

Getty Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart directs his team during a game against the Houston Rockets.

There’s no getting around it — last season was a bad one for the Boston Celtics. After narrowly missing out on an NBA Finals berth in the Orlando bubble the previous year, the Beantowners stumbled to a .500 record and a first-round exit in 2020-21. At Celtics Media Day, though, Marcus Smart was clearly focused on turning the page.

“Moving on, you know? Understand that things didn’t go as planned well for us last year,” Smart said when asked for his thoughts on the season that was.

Although there were some obvious issues on the court throughout the ill-fated campaign, the Celtics wing noted that there were also things going on behind the scenes that contributed to the club losing its mojo. “Everybody had things they were dealing with personally on and off the court,” he said.

However, the 27-year-old is more interested in looking ahead.

“For us, it’s just starting fresh, starting over, and you know kind of rebuilding that mentality that we know we need to have and we have had over the years.”

Smart on His Big Contract Extension

While the Celtics made a number of personnel moves over the summer, bringing in a slew of new faces, one of their biggest deals of the offseason was Smart’s extension. For a player who had been a cornerstone piece for the franchise — but had also seen his name bandied about in trade rumors — there was clearly a lot riding on his contract discussions.

However, Smart was well aware that the decision to extend or not was a business one for both sides.

“I think, when you get into negotiating anything, there is always a question. That is part of the business. I think a lot of things get taken out of sight when it comes to this game,” he said. “It’s a business first. You have to do things and say things—or not do things and say things that you probably wouldn’t or would—when it comes to business status.”

In the end, though, he’s happy that the sides came to an agreement (for four additional years and $77 million).

“We’re here. I’m excited to be back. I am excited to be with this group of guys,” he added.

“I’m excited for a fresh start like I said. Everything is a fresh start for us, that’s kind of my mentality with Brad [Stevens] moving on, with Ime [Udoka] coming in.”

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Doing the Job

As ever, Smart — who averaged 13.1 points, 5.7 assists and 1.5 steals per contest last season — is bringing his lunchpail mentality to the 2021-22 campaign.

In that respect, nothing has changed for the longtime Celtic, regardless of the number of new faces in camp.

“It feels like every other season. You know, I’m here to do a job, I’m here to help a team bring a championship back home for us,” he said. “That’s my job, just like any other year. I guess this year things are more consistent. Nothing has changed, attitude’s the same, go out there and help my team win.


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