NBA Rumor: Marcus Smart Trade?

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Mannix mentions the Trail Blazers, who could make some significant changes of their own this summer, as a potential destination for Smart. “If Portland keeps Lillard — that’s why [CJ] McCollum is intriguing for Boston, because Smart would probably complement Lillard differently at least than McCollum does,” Mannix said. “The biggest problem in Portland is there’s no defensive backstop there. There’s nobody that can guard wings the way Smart can. So you put Smart next to Lillard, you take a lot of pressure off him in that sense. There’s a really good market for Marcus Smart.”

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Obviously, a move like that would have to come with Lillard’s blessing. Olshey has acknowledged that over the years, any move of note — a trade or free-agent signing — has been first run by Lillard to receive his endorsement. If Lillard thinks Simmons could work, then that’s the type of move that gives the Blazers a chance to make an instant jump because it addresses their biggest weakness: defense. I’ve also heard Boston could be interested in a player like McCollum, and I’ve always thought Marcus Smart and his defense would be a great pairing in Portland (obviously it would take more to make salaries match, but Smart would be a great start).

Marcus Smart available?

But the Celtics are still centered by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, now both signed to long-term extensions, with Marcus Smart (who’s not ungettable, per league sources) and Kemba Walker back in strong support roles. And making Hayward’s deal a sign and trade with Charlotte gives Boston a huge cudgel with which to take a swing at another star: a $28.5 million traded player exception that the Cs have a year to use in a trade. Given how Boston got throttled in the Eastern finals by Bam Adebayo, looking for a big man upgrade certainly made sense, and while Thompson’s not quite the two-way force he was a few years ago, he’s still quite good at both screen assists and points off of them (4.6 screen assists and 10.4 points per game produced last season, each sixth-best among centers in the league).

Shams Charania: [The Celtics] have looked into moving Marcus Smart. They’ve talked to teams about ‘Can we get a first-rounder [for him]? Can we get a blue-chip talent?’ Utah is also facing the same issues with Rodney Hood. No one in the marketplace is giving up a first-round pick and a blue-chip talent, you’re just not seeing that on the market. So to me, it’s a lot of ‘We’re gonna see what the value is; we’re gonna see if we can hit a home run with it.’ And that’s what Boston is trying to do. I definitely think they have their mind set on getting a blue-chip talent and a first-round pick, which, in this environment, is going to be difficult.

Jared Weiss: To restate with the recent rumors, indications the last 2 days were that a Smart for Mudiay deal was not going anywhere. The price for Boston was a first and a good rotation player, something they aren’t getting at this point. Things can change quickly Thursday afternoon though. All indications based on conversations with people with knowledge of the situation, plus the market conditions this year and this offseason are that a Smart deal seems unlikely.

But one of the keys to Boston’s plans moving forward is staying in position to strike on Anthony Davis, or any other transcendent player that hits the market. They have more high-value assets to offer than anyone and their plan to wait out the Davis situation is paying off after DeMarcus Cousins’ unfortunate Achilles tear once again puts the prospects of Davis’ long-term success in New Orleans into question. Boston currently doesn’t have much salary to match a trade for Davis without giving up Al Horford, so signing Smart to a market deal would open up a situation similar to what just happened with Blake Griffin. Smart has been looking for a multi-year deal though and would not be interested in a short-term, above-market salary deal per sources.

“You talk about Marcus Smart, he’s a player that’s available for a first round pick. If a team was willing to give Boston a first, Boston would look at,” Woj said in the latest edition of his podcast with Bobby Marks. “If they didn’t have to take back a lot of money going out in the future. He’s restricted this summer, you don’t know what it will cost to keep him.” “He’s proven he can help you win a playoff game or two. He doesn’t shoot great from 3-point line, some of the things you want from a guard in this day and age. He defends, he’s super competitive. But they can’t pay everybody in Boston and they’re going to have to make decisions. But does a team want to give up a first for a player when they don’t know what it will cost to keep him. I’m not sure that will happen. But I think certainly if they were going to make a move with one of their core guys, there’s potential that it’s going to be Smart.”
4 years ago via ESPN

Ian Begley: The Knicks continue to be in touch with Rajon Rondo. ESPN reported on the first day of free agency that the Knicks touched base with both Rondo and Darren Collison, though there was no substantive conversation regarding either player. The Knicks have continued to be in touch with Rondo, sources confirm. But there is no scheduled meeting yet. Some people in touch with the Knicks recently came away with the impression that NYK didn’t have strong interest in Rondo. The Knicks are looking for a point guard to mentor Frank Ntilikina, according to sources. Derrick Rose and Shelvin Mack are other point guards on their radar. The Knicks heard from the Celtics, who are open to trading Marcus Smart. The club’s interest in Smart is not know. The Knicks’ most-recent contact with Rondo was first reported by Basketball Insiders.

GM Danny Ainge wanted to acquire another lottery selection in addition to the team’s top-3 pick and he dangled everyone on the team in trade discussions, including Isaiah Thomas, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan reports. “Before the draft last year, Danny was trying to get two picks, not just Jaylen Brown,” ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan told Bob Ryan on his podcast (h/t Comcast Sportsnet). “He was on the phone with everybody from coast to coast, and he was offering everybody. That includes Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas, and anything else they needed to get where he wanted to go. There were no untouchables on that team last year.”
4 years ago via ESPN

The Celtics have talked intermittently with the Clippers about Blake Griffin, per several league sources, but a deal is extremely unlikely. Griffin will be a free agent this summer, and Boston would probably need official permission to talk to him about his future — a concession Minnesota allowed Cleveland before the Kevin Love trade. The Clips would ask for a bounty, starting with Jae Crowder and one of the Avery Bradley/Marcus Smart duo, plus picks, per league sources.

The Celtics have one of the NBA’s better backcourts, a nice blend of offense (Isaiah Thomas), defense (Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier) and a burgeoning star capable of both (Avery Bradley). It’s also one of the league’s most affordable, with Bradley ($8.3 million) and Thomas ($6.6 million) making well below market value, and Smart and Rozier on rookie deals. That will change soon. Smart is eligible for an extension in 2017. A $10 million-plus offer will be the starting point of negotiations. Thomas and Bradley will be free agents in 2018, eligible for max salaries of $32.4 million per season. Neither will likely come near that, but understand: This is the ballpark Boston is playing in. The Celtics won’t pay all of them. They can’t pay all of them, not if they want to continue to pursue another impact player. If the Celtics make a significant trade, it will undoubtedly include one or more of their star guards.
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