Brad Stevens shocked the NBA world on Wednesday stirring the emotions of Boston Celtics fans, players and even the executive himself.
In a blockbuster deal that sent Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies and ultimately landed the Celtics Kristaps Porzingis, a team just on the brink of another NBA Finals appearance now has a new identity to get over that hump.
But will they really accomplish that by moving on from the self-proclaimed heart and soul of the team? Where will that defensive intensity and leadership on the court come from now that the 2021 NBA Defensive Player of the Year is gone? How will this team look without the longest tenured Celtics player?
Boston Celtics trading Marcus Smart has stirred emotions
If you are a Green teamer who is also a defender of Smart, those are the emotional questions you may be asking. If you are a Celtics fan tired of the flopping, the chucking of 3’s and the team falling short year after year, you may be saying “it’s about time.”
Either way, the trade that seemingly came out of nowhere has stirred emotions. That core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Smart are no more. Now, its Tatum and Brown’s team to lead, which will prove whether they can lead this team to a title.
As for Smart and how he is dealing with the trade, the former C’s point guard took to Twitter on Friday afternoon and expressed his Celtics pride:
"“Where do I even being…as I start to think about the last 9 years I have a lot of emotions running thru me. I came to Boston as a naïve kid from Dallas not really knowing what to expect. All I knew was the type of work ethic my momma instilled in me, and I was going to work my ass off and make sure I EARNED the respect of each and every one of the fans in Boston. Which is why this was tuff. Boston, you are a very special place to me. I grew up here and met some of my best friends here. I’ll never forget my time here. Ultimately, we didn’t get that 18th banner but I’m VERY VERY proud of the success we had.”"
Through his 9 seasons with the Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart did earn respect. He played with an intensity that propelled teammates at time. He made hustle plays that either propelled or inspired momentum. In that aspect, it is tough to see him go, but it was also time for him to go.
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As he went on to say in his post, “it’s time to look forward” which is exactly what the Boston Celtics are doing with this trade. Yes, Smart was a big piece of the culture over the years, but for each big play he made with the game on the line, there were also plays that impacted the team losing games.
At the end of games when the ball should be in either Tatum or Brown’s hands, too often it was Smart chucking up a shot. There were also questionable decisions on the court and turnovers that got in the way of the team winning.
A scapegoat? Maybe, but a shift in direction was needed with this team. Even if it wasn’t initially intended to be Smart heading out of Boston, Stevens took the opportunity to shake up things a bit. Whether it was the right move or not, fans won’t find out till the finalized roster takes the court in 2023-24.
Sometimes it just takes getting rid of a piece of the puzzle that you realize doesn’t fit to complete a championship puzzle.