Sunday, May 29 2022

By now it should be clear that there are structural issues holding back the Boston Celtics, and while we might quibble about what specifically needs to be changed to make the team into something better than the mediocre, .500 club it has been over the course of the last two seasons, you are not going to find many fans or analysts who believe the answer to the team’s problems is already on the roster.

With this in mind, it should go without saying that the best tool that the Celtics have available to them is the trade market, but making a deal that could impact the way the team plays substantially enough to change the club’s fortunes will require sending out a player with talent.

In a recent article positing what player each of the NBA’s 30 teams should consider shopping at the trade deadline, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley believes that Boston’s best option for such a move would be none other than veteran guard Marcus Smart.

“Marcus Smart is the proverbial heart and soul of the Celtics,” correctly assesses the B/R analyst.

“He might also be what’s holding back their 19th-ranked offense since he is neither a dynamic playmaker (5.4 assists against 2.1 turnovers per game) nor the most reliable outside shooter (30.3 percent this season).”

“His point-of-attack defense is magnificent, though,” adds Buckley, pointing to one of the reasons the Flower Mound native is so beloved in Boston.

“(A)nd his $13.8 million salary is almost certainly needed to make any major move without splitting apart Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown—a nuclear option not (yet) worth considering for less than a no-brainer offer. The Celtics could shop other players like Dennis Schroder, Al Horford and Aaron Nesmith, but none would net nearly the same return as Smart.”

“Would the Shamrocks really split from their emotional leader?: asks the Bleacher Report writer. “In a word: Yes.”

“B/R’s Jake Fischer reported that prior to Atlanta’s trade of Reddish to the New York Knicks, the Celtics had discussed dealing Smart for Reddish and Kevin Huerter,” relates Buckley.

“Boston should keep dangling Smart in search of that elusive third star,” he claims, and we are inclined to agree.

We do not expect a candidate who would be worth moving on from Smart to be worth the risk, but if another team values him similarly and has a problem he could solve that players they need less could have a similar effect in Boston, well — at this point, everything needs to be on the table.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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