Rumored Celtics-Magic Trade Talks Make No Sense For Boston

Smart absolutely is tradeable, but not in that package

by

Mar 23, 2021

We’re not of the mindset that Marcus Smart is untouchable. He very much is a tradeable asset for the Boston Celtics, maybe even in a deal with the Orlando Magic.

But surely — surely — the Celtics can do better than mortgaging their future and ridding themselves of Smart for the grand prize of Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier.

The big chatter Monday was that the Celtics and Magic were engaged in trade talks surrounding Gordon. A last update from The Athletic, which was late Monday, the two sides were having discussions about a deal that would involve the Celtics getting Gordon and Fournier, while sending Orlando Smart and two first-round picks.

You can read more here on why we think the Celtics shouldn’t be swinging any big moves this week, but this specific idea is particularly dumb.

The one thing the Celtics have lacked this season is an identity. Perhaps the only player that really offers them the Celtics Style™ of basketball (gritty, resilient, etc.) is Smart, who you actually could tell was missed during the woeful last month-plus for Boston.

Obviously, he would need to be in that package purely to make the money work. But the Celtics still would likely use some of the Gordon Hayward trade exception in the deal.

So they’re going to get rid of Smart, two first-round picks and some of their trade exception for Gordon, a fine player, to be sure, and Fournier on an expiring contract?

It makes no sense, especially for a team that has given you no indication this season that they actually could compete for a title.

Perhaps we’re undervaluing Gordon. He is a sound defensive player, but offensively and on the glass he’s just fine, not great. He likely wouldn’t seem so enticing if the Celtics had competent wing play off the bench, but alas. Fournier could provide some scoring in a reserve role, which is something they desperately need. Either way, both players are upgrades offensively over Smart.

But one area where the Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum-led Celtics have significantly underachieved is the leadership department. For all his shortcomings on the offensive end, particularly late in games, Smart generally has the Celtics looking like they at least care a little bit. With the way the season has gone for Boston, they need someone who can at least keep this group engaged.

Moving Smart, again, shouldn’t be out of the question. But this isn’t the right deal to do it in.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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