Despite losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday night, Danny Ainge was in a laughing mood Monday.
His jokes might not go over well with Marcus Smart, however.
Smart’s right hand was a story in and of itself during the 2017-18 campaign. The Celtics guard missed time late in the season after spraining his thumb during a game against the Indiana Pacers in April and was forced to play with a brace throughout the playoffs. That injury occurred shortly after Smart recovered from a gruesome lacerated-hand injury, which was caused by him punching a picture frame while the C’s were in Los Angeles in January.
Despite it all, Smart, who will be a restricted free agent this offseason, proved himself to be an invaluable piece of the Celtics’ puzzle during the postseason. But when asked about the guard’s future with the franchise Monday afternoon, Ainge couldn’t help but poke fun at the infamous picture-punching debacle.
Here’s what the Celtics president of basketball operations said, per NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely:
Given how badly Smart’s hand bothered him throughout the playoffs, we doubt the 24-year-old found Ainge’s joke humorous.
“I don’t like to make excuses,” Smart told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan after Boston’s Game 7 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, “but my thumb is killing me. My whole right hand hurts.”
What the Celtics elect to do with Smart will be one of the biggest storylines to monitor during the summer. His offensive numbers say he doesn’t deserve a large contract, but his intangibles say otherwise.
Smart, for one, believes he’s worth a sizable chunk of dough.
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