Boston Celtics: It’s time to move on from Marcus Smart

Boston Celtics Marcus Smart (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics Marcus Smart (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics are well underway with their offseason proceedings. They have already shaken up their front office quite drastically, with Danny Ainge stepping down and Brad Stevens taking his role. Stevens was eventually replaced by new head coach Ime Udoka, giving Boston’s top brass a completely new look heading into next season.

Not to mention, the roster will look strikingly different by the time next season rolls around, and the offseason isn’t even over yet. Kemba Walker was almost immediately traded after season ended, and Tristan Thompson appears to be following him to the exit door. New faces include old friends Al Horford and Enes Kanter, as well as Josh Richardson, and supposedly Kris Dunn and Bruno Fernando if the Thompson deal ever gets announced.

It’s become clearer and clearer that Stevens is trying to set Boston up for the 2022 offseason rather than make a big splash this time around. Stevens was left to clean up the mess left behind by Ainge, and so far he’s done an admirable job at bringing in some helpful players while getting the C’s out of salary cap limbo.

Despite that, the one big question mark that will hover over this team for the rest of the offseason is Marcus Smart. Smart’s contract is set to expire next offseason, and many fans have wondered whether or not it is worth investing in Smart for the future. They already handed him a four year, $52 million deal three years back, and his price is only going to increase from there.

Why the Boston Celtics need to move on from Marcus Smart

If the Celtics are intent on getting another star to pair up with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in the near future, then it should be clear that Smart has no place on this team. Tatum and Brown are already locked up to pretty lucrative deals, and bringing in another star isn’t going to be very cheap. Giving Smart another extension would destroy the salary cap work Stevens has done so far, and essentially tie Tatum and Brown to Smart for the foreseeable future.

By now we should all know what Smart brings to the table for the Boston Celtics. He’s a wildly inconsistent offensive player, but plays a gritty brand of defense that has helped Boston out in numerous situations. Smart’s heart and determination has won over Celtics fans for the past seven seasons, but it appears that may be wearing off.

Smart had an interesting past season, as he averaged a career high 13.1 points per game, but struggled to hit a lot of shots. His three point shooting decreased for the second straight season, and his penchant for wild shots only seemed to increase as a result. Making matters worse, his defensive play seemed to take a dip, and it was getting tougher and tougher to justify his place on the court as a result.

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It feels as if the Marcus Smart experiment has run it’s course. He’s a good player who has obviously won over the city, but we have seen time and again that this team cannot win with him. Offensively, he is handicapping Tatum and Brown; he took 10.6 shots per game last season, shooting just 39.8 percent. Those are shots that could be going to Tatum and Brown.

Only making a trade more likely is the acquisition of Richardson from the Dallas Mavericks. Richardson is basically a spitting image of Smart; inconsistent offense, very solid defensively. Smart probably offers a bit more upside than Richardson, but Richardson costs less and isn’t necessarily going to demand the amount of shots Smart does on a nightly basis.

With a replacement in tow, it feels like it’s time to trade Marcus Smart now while his value is still high. Technically, the Boston Celtics could wait until the trade deadline and see if he makes any sort of improvements, but that’s not going to be worth it. Everyone knows what Smart is, there’s not going to be any sort of change in the near future that suddenly makes him worth the extension he’s looking for.

Boston is going to need money to try to bring in another star, and blowing some of that money on a new deal for Smart just isn’t worth it. It’s been rumored that Tatum and Brown have gotten sick of his constant bemoaning despite his lack of results, and that Stevens has become frustrated with his performance. The team has consistently stalled in the playoffs the past few seasons, and while that’s certainly not all on Smart, it’s becoming clearer and clearer he’s not part of this team’s solution.

It’s been reported Smart will be looking for a four year, $80 million extension, or basically what they just refused to pay Evan Fournier. Sure Boston will have more cap space next offseason, but that should be used to bring in bigger fish, not re-sign Smart.

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That’s why Boston should try to get something in return for Smart while they can. There’s no sense in playing the waiting game only to watch him depart in free agency, that’s basically what they just did with Fournier. There will certainly be teams looking to add Smart to their team, so shop him around and take the best offer you can get.

Marcus Smart is a good basketball player, but it’s time for the Boston Celtics to move on from him. Tatum and Brown are the future of this team, not Smart, and they need to build the team around them. That team shouldn’t include Smart, and the Celtics would be wise to move their inconsistent guard while they can.