After an exciting offseason, the Boston Celtics are poised to be championship contenders as the 2023-24 NBA campaign kicks off on Tuesday. While C's fans had plenty of celebration over the summer with the acquisitions of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis, the offseason wasn't without its losses.
Marcus Smart was one player that the Boston faithful were disappointed to see go. The veteran guard was moved to the Memphis Grizzlies in the three-team trade that brought Porzingis to Beantown, saddening those who assumed Smart was a part of the Celtics' core for years to come.
Well, it turns out that fans weren't the only ones who thought Smart would be around a little longer.
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In an interview with The Athletic's Jared Weiss on Tuesday, Smart accused the Celtics of lying to him. The three-time All-Defensive specialist told Weiss that he asked management "multiple times" about trade rumors, only for the front office to tell him that there wasn't anything to worry about.
Smart, like the rest of us, found out that he was traded to the Grizzlies through NBA insider Shams Charania on social media rather than from the Celtics themselves.
""Like, ‘I’m hearing (rumors), what’s going on?’ And [the Celtics are] like, ‘No, you’re good, you’re good, you’re good.’ And then when I do hear about the trade, it’s from Shams (Charania) on Twitter before I hear from the team.”"- Marcus Smart
If what Smart is saying is true, it's definitely disappointing to see how general manager Brad Stevens handled the situation. Regardless of how you feel, organizations always end up looking worse when the player has to find out about a trade or cut from an insider — especially when they've been with the team for nine seasons.
It didn't take long for Smart to become a fan favorite after the Celtics drafted him sixth overall in 2014. He averaged 10.6 points, 4.6 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals across 581 regular season outings with Boston, He was also a reliable playoff contributor, suiting up in 63 games over the last four postseasons.
While Holiday is a massive upgrade over Smart, it doesn't make the latter's departure — especially with how it happened — hurt any less. Hopefully, it's only a one-off mistake by Stevens. Transparency and loyalty from the front office are crucial to attracting and keeping players around.
In the meantime, Boston fans won't have to wait too long to see their team faceoff with Smart. The Celtics and Grizzlies collided at FedExForum on Sunday, Nov. 19 before meeting again at TD Garden on Sunday, Feb. 4.
Only time will tell if more bad blood is added to the situation before then.
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