Proposed Celtics Blockbuster Trades Smart & Horford for Multiple All-Stars

Celtics land Pascal Siakam is trade proposal

Getty Boston Celtics' Al Horford (left) and Marcus Smart (right).

You need stars to win in the NBA. Thankfully, the Boston Celtics have two of them, boasting arguably the league’s most talented one-two punch in their All-Star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Yet, despite their presence, the team has hovered around a .500 record since the start of 2020. Some basketball pundits will say that’s enough time to warrant breaking up the star-studded tandem. To those — we say, not so fast.

As franchise legend Paul Pierce noted during a November 19 appearance on Sports Illustrated’s “The Crossover NBA Show with Chris Mannix and Howard Beck,” it’s all about “putting the right pieces around your great players,” not separating said players. With that in mind, it may be time for Brad Stevens and company to take a swing at adding a third horseman to the mix if Boston truly wants to compete with the elites in the East. Having said that, such a move wouldn’t come without its fair share of notable casualties.

Proposed Trade Swaps 3 Celtics for Pascal Siakam & Goran Drogic

It’s fairly well known that Boston doesn’t have the greatest slew of young, intriguing trade chips at their disposal — at least ones they’d be willing to part with. What they do have are two proven commodities in point guard Marcus Smart and the age-less Al Horford. Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes proposes the team unloads the two veteran starters in a trade package to acquire the services of Pascal Siakam and Goran Dragic from the Toronto Raptors. Here’s how the proposal shapes up in the eyes of the B/R columnist:

  • Boston Celtics Receive:
    • Pascal Siakam
    • Goran Dragic
  • Toronto Raptors Receive:
    • Marcus Smart
    • Al Horford
    • Romeo Langford

It feels wrong to boot Marcus Smart from the Boston Celtics. The fiery defensive dynamo has been a key factor in four conference finals appearances and, despite persistent overconfidence in his shot, has done far more good than harm during his eight seasons with the team. That said, Smart is no star. Same goes for Al Horford, whose minutes this year have coincided with a minus-7.3 net rating.

They depart in exchange for Pascal Siakam, giving the Celtics a fearsome, fully switchable, kinda-sorta centerless look that could help unlock new dimensions on both ends. Siakam has won a ring and made an All-NBA team in 2019-20. He’s played a career-high 41 percent of his minutes as a small-ball 5 and is far more mobile than Horford. His assist percentage is quietly right on track to match that of the Boston big man this season.

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Smart Dubbed a ‘Friction Creator’

Moving on from Smart certainly comes with its caveats. The team’s longest-tenured player, Smart remains a pest defensively and has a habit of making game-altering plays that don’t show up in the boxscore. The former No. 6 overall pick is widely considered a leader in the Celtics locker room and the heart and soul of the current roster. However, as Hughes notes, that may not always be for the best.

“Smart is a friction creator — on the floor and off. That tendency toward confrontation is part of what makes him a special defender, but perhaps some of the tension in Boston would ease in his absence,” wrote Hughes.

Moving on from Smart would theoretically open the door for more Dennis Schroder at the one, who is already averaging a career-high 33.3 minutes per game. It could also help pull Payton Pritchard out of his rut by giving him more leeway. While the Oregon native did pour in 19 points in a December 4 showing against the Portland Trail Blazers, his play has taken such a drastic step back in his second pro season that Mass Live’s Brian Robb recently suggested the Celtics send Pritchard to the G-League in hopes of rebuilding his confidence.

As for Dragic, he may no longer be the every-game starter he was earlier in his career with the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat. However, even at 35 years old, he remains a viable playmaker in spot duty. Just last season, Dragic averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 assists in 50 games with the Heat.

“Dragic, who’s played five games all year and is currently away from the Raptors for personal reasons, would provide playmaking to offset Smart’s exit,” noted Hughes. “The Raps probably hoped to get more for him in trade, but this at least beats a buyout. Horford, meanwhile, would give Toronto the reliable center it’s lacked since losing the Marc Gasol-Serge Ibaka tandem in 2020 free agency.”


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