Marcus Smart was almost on the move.
The Celtics and Hawks discussed a trade that would’ve sent Smart to Atlanta, according to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer. In exchange, the Celtics would’ve received guards Cam Reddish and Kevin Heurter.
Given that Atlanta dealt Reddish to the Knicks Jan. 13, it doesn’t seem like its timeline matched up with Boston’s, since Smart wasn’t even eligible to be traded until Tuesday. Fischer reports it’s “unclear” how far discussions persisted, but it will take “significant value” for them to part with Smart.
The Mavericks are seemingly interested in Smart as well.
It’s apparent Brad Stevens values Smart. The Celtics re-upped the tenacious guard to a four-year, $77 million extension last summer. He remains the best defender on the team, though he’s struggled with the transition to become the Celtics’ primary ball handler. Smart is averaging 11.3 points per game to go along with 5.4 assists and four rebounds.
Reddish and Heurter, both of whom are sharp-shooting young guards, could’ve helped Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown space the floor. But the upgrade in three-point shooting may not have been worth the potential defensive downgrade. It’s apparent the Hawks liked the idea of pairing Smart with All-Star Trae Young, who regularly skips out on defense.
The Celtics could still deal Smart before next month’s trade deadline, along with Al Horford, who has just $14.5 million of next season's $26.5 million salary guaranteed. Guards Dennis Schroder and Aaron Nesmith have been floated in trade talks as well, says Bleacher Report.
But with a 25-24 record, the Celtics aren’t in desperate sell mode. Fischer writes there’s a feeling around the league that Boston could fare better in the second half with a healthier roster. The Celtics have won two straight games, including a home record 53-point victory over the Kings Wednesday.