The Boston Celtics lost more than meets the eye when they traded away Marcus Smart in part of their blockbuster deal for Kristaps Porzingis this offseason. However, there’s still a chance to add more to the puzzle.

Now a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, Smart made himself a household name in Boston by utilizing the intangibles that can’t be taught by a head coach: toughness, grit and an overall dirt-dog mentality that was heavily reminiscent of traditional Celtics basketball, which was well-received by fans through Smart’s nine-year run.

There’s no doubt Smart’s presence will be missed and likely felt next season, especially considering the drop-off in defensive emphasis under head coach Joe Mazzulla’s obsessive 3-point system last season that failed miserably.

Yet, there’s plenty of offseason left, hence, plenty of options for Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens to consider moving forward amid life without Smart. Stevens has already explored the trade market, but perhaps it’s time for Boston to examine the free agency class, more specifically guard Patrick Beverley.

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Making the case for Beverley in Boston
The stars are in alignment for the Celtics to add Beverley to their already improved roster for next season.

Beverley, 34, is an unrestricted free agent with a nearly identical level of toughness to Smart coupled with some much-needed veteran leadership and experience that Boston has missed. He’s vaguely reminiscent of Marcus Morris’ with Boston four seasons ago.

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Considering the Celtics inherited Porzingis’ $36 million salary for next season and are expected to extend that contract to keep him in Boston, going the financially-friendly route would be ideal moving forward and that’s where Beverley comes into play.

Just last season, Beverley signed a one-year deal for a little over $800,000 with the Chicago Bulls in exchange for 22 games of service. He averaged 6.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting 40% from the field in a 67-game split campaign with the Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. But like Smart, Beverley’s numbers don’t speak for his intangibles.

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Beverley finished fourth in blocks per game (0.6) last season among all point guards in the NBA, just two spots behind Celtics guard Derrick White (0.9). Mind you, Beverley’s minute average (27.1) was the lowest among guards within the top five. His defensive intensity appeared during his final nine games with the Bulls in the regular season, averaging 1.7 steals, which included seven during the final two contests.

Making it abundantly known that reaching back to Boston’s defensive-minded play under former head coach Ime Udoka is key to putting their agonizing Eastern Conference finals loss to the Miami Heat behind them, Beverley would definitely be a step forward toward Banner 18.

Furthermore, the Celtics are positioned to add to their departure list as the offseason progresses.

Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard hit rock bottom last season, with their respective stock values taking a hit through back-seated roles under Mazzulla. Pritchard, who’s in the worst of two bad situations, averaged a career-low in points (5.6), field-goal attempts (5.1), minutes (13.4) and games (48) last season, vocalizing his desire to part ways with Boston midseason. Meanwhile, Williams registered five DNPs during the playoffs with very minimal clarification from Mazzulla plus rumors rumbling that the Celtics are shopping him in the trade market.

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So, why keep them on board?

The Celtics have wisely self-reflected this offseason, admitting that last season’s core didn’t cut it. Acceptance is step one. Now, they’ll need to continue to shake up the formula in hopes of putting together the winning unit to surround Boston’s dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Otherwise, the C’s can be (easily) doomed for déjà vu in 2024.

Featured image via Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports Images