With the NBA Finals on the cusp of starting up, that means that the NBA offseason is only a few weeks away. That hasn’t stopped the Boston Celtics though, as they already made a major move by trading away Kemba Walker and their first round pick in this year’s draft for Al Horford and Moses Brown.
Even with that big move, it feels like that was only the tip of the iceberg in what should be an eventful offseason. Even owner Wyc Grousbeck said the other day that he expects “a very busy July”, which should signal that the Celtics front office is gearing up for some big moves.
Do Grousbeck’s comments provide Celtics fans a good reason to expect big moves this offseason? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Either way, it’s clear this roster is in dire need of a shakeup, and moving Walker, combined with the recent hire of Ime Udoka as the new head coach, provide good building blocks for that impending change.
There are many different avenues this offseason could go, and in sports crazed Boston, everyone is looking for big moves to change things up. We already got one with the Walker trade, but here are three more ways the Celtics front office could set off some fireworks this offseason.
No. 3: Boston Celtics need to trade Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart has been an enigma for basically the entirety of his seven seasons in Boston. He consistently will make plays on offense (does a long-range three just mere seconds into the shot clock ring a bell?) that just leave you scratching your head. But for every bone-headed decision he would make on offense, he would make up for it with a standout hustle play that would turn the tide of a game.
There’s probably not another player in the league who could get James Harden to commit two fouls in a row off of inbound passes, but Smart did it here, and single-handedly won this game for the Celtics. Moments like these have been on display just about every night he took the floor for Boston, and are why he is largely considered the heart and soul of this team.
But those moments felt few and far between this season, in part to the Celtics sheer incompetency for the most part. And as we head into the offseason, it’s starting to feel like Smart’s tenure in Boston could be reaching its end.
Smart followed up a lights out bubble run with a regression back to his normal ways this season. His three point shot continued to be inconsistent at best, and his defensive impact on the game regressed this season. Smart’s defensive win shares (which is an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player due to defense) was the lowest of his career, as his usual high level defense was missing this season.
If Smart’s defensive play has regressed, that makes him almost unplayable at times. Too often he settles for a low percentage shot rather than trying to find a better shot. Guys like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were clearly frustrated with Smart at times this season, and it seemed like they were sick of Smart’s constant bemoaning despite his lack of results.
It may be time to move on as a result. Smart’s offensive numbers improved, although minimally, and he still is an above average defender. He certainly still holds value, and with only one year left on his current deal, the Celtics should try to get some value for him before he potentially leaves in free agency.