NBA Rumors: Celtics, Hawks Eyeing Marcus Smart Trade Framework?

Atlanta reportedly is interested in Smart

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The Celtics have turned around their season, winning five straight and seven of their last eight, but a lot of speculation ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline still centers on whom Boston might deal away.

Marcus Smart has been the subject of trade rumors for a while, and The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner added fuel to the fire Monday by reporting, via sources, that the Hawks are interested in the Celtics guard.

According to Kirschner, Atlanta has been interested in Smart for “quite some time,” as the 27-year-old would fill the Hawks’ need for defense, playmaking and leadership.

A reader pitched a hypothetical trade in which Boston would send Smart to Atlanta in exchange for Bogdan Bogdanovi? and the Charlotte Hornets’ 2022 first-round pick (top-18 protected). In responding to the proposal, Kirschner offered a notable nugget regarding a possible Smart-Bogdanovi? swap.

Here’s what Kirschner wrote:

Who says no? Possibly the Celtics.

I’ve actually heard some chatter on a Smart-Bogdanovi? trade framework in the past few days. Whether or not it actually materializes is a different thing. Smart is someone the Hawks have been interested in for quite some time. It’s obvious why when you look at what is needed on this roster: more defense and more players who can create for themselves and others. Smart fills that need. The Hawks could also use another voice in the locker room who is respected and not afraid to hold anyone accountable. They’re kind of missing that right now with this being a mostly quiet roster.

It likely would require a bit more than Charlotte’s first-rounder to get this done, but Smart should be one of the main targets the Hawks are after.

Although there’s long been debate about Smart’s value, as so much of what he brings to the table doesn’t show up in the box score, there’s no denying he’s a key piece of Boston’s current identity. Smart, the sixth overall pick in 2014, is the longest-tenured member of the Celtics, and his high motor and defensive aptitude often set the tempo when Boston is playing its best basketball.

That said, the Celtics still are searching for a consistent winning formula, despite their recent success. And Smart, whom this past August signed a four-year, $77 million contract extension that runs through the 2025-26 season, is one of the few tradable assets president of basketball operations Brad Stevens has to work with while trying to build a roster capable of taking the next step in the Eastern Conference.

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