Last week, the Boston Celtics shocked their fanbase when they decided to include Marcus Smart in the three-team trade that landed Kristaps Porzingis in Boston. Smart ultimately wound up with the Memphis Grizzlies, one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
His former teammate, Grant Williams, discussed the move with reporters on Tuesday morning, during an appearance at a Patriots event in Foxborough. Williams explained that hearing the news hurt a bit and that Smart is a phenomenal person.
“It’s something that hurts a little bit,” Williams said, per NBC Sports Boston. “Because you’ve known someone for so long and he’s a phenomenal person, a phenomenal teammate, who plays with the heart and passion of anyone across this entire organization and league. You have to understand it’s a part of the business.”
Williams went on to say that he has no doubt that Smart will succeed in Memphis, or wherever else he may go in the league. Boston’s No. 12 added that the rest of the roster is going to have some work to do in terms of filling the void left by the former Defensive Player of the Year’s absence.
“This team is going to have to step up in that absence because he was a huge part of the organization, this franchise, this tenure in Celtics history,” Williams continued. “He’s a true Celtic so losing that is definitely going to hurt but you have to wish him luck and pray for him.”
How can the Boston Celtics fill the Marcus Smart void?
Williams is right. Ultimately there is going to feel as if there’s something missing from the Celtics next season. Smart was the epitome of a Celtic, hard-working, dedicated, and he cared — which seems simple but it’s not something all that common in today’s league.
On top of all of the character-based traits, Smart excelled on the defensive end and came into his own as a playmaker ever since taking on the starting role. Yes, he had a down year defensively. He rolled his ankle mid-season and never quite looked the same.
At the end of the day, the C’s are going to need someone to fill the void Smart’s absence leaves on the court — at the very least.
That solution could come from within. Derrick White seemingly took a major jump last season, becoming a reliable third option for the Celtics at times. The question with him comes in terms of playmaking. For his career, White averages just 3.8 assists per game. Granted, he hasn’t been given the keys to an offense just yet — much like Smart before Kemba Walker was traded away.
Boston could also look externally to bring in a viable replacement. Where does that come from? Free agency? Probably not since the Celtics don’t have much spending room. Through a trade? Okay, but who’s getting sent out? Is it worth the return?
The only guy who jumps out as a trade candidate is Williams. He could be dealt away as part of a sign-and-trade if Boston decides they don’t want to keep him this summer. The issue is that often times sign-and-trades don’t garner much value in return.
Maybe the Boston Celtics can find a deal to land a point guard, but the path to that seems pretty complicated.