Marcus Smart was credited for being the reason Al Horford signed with the Boston Celtics during the summer of 2016 by the big man during the postgame conference of the C's 131-91 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on February 4; Smart's return to the TD Garden for the first time since his June 2023 trade away from the team. Horford also shouted out Isaiah Thomas by name.
“It was good to see him," Horford said of Smart (h/t MassLive). Good to see him today. My time with Marcus here was very special, and I said this before, but one of the reasons why I came here initially in ‘16 was Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart. I had a lot of respect for Smart even when he was a really young player, and how he cared about winning. Just a very special person and somebody that I really appreciated when he was here with us throughout the years, so just seeing him tonight was nice. It was nice to catch up with him to see him, he’s doing well and trying to recover from his injury. It was good to see him.”
Horford would go on to say that the city of Boston has "real love" for Smart.
“It’s special," Horford prefaced before saying, "It was special to be able to share those moments with him. I knew that the crowd was gonna be very grateful and appreciative and they were. They were great. They really showed their appreciation. And it was nice to see not only Marcus but also his wife and the people that were along with them. They were kind of taking everything in, appreciating the moment, and feeling the love. Boston has real love for Marcus and even though he’s on another team, it doesn’t change you know how we feel about him, our guys, and also the fans show how they feel about him as well.”
Marcus Smart must finish the story with Boston Celtics one day
The Grizzlies underwent a major culture shock over the summer of 2022, with one source close to the team telling me that one veteran was caught completely off guard by the difference in behavior from Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks in particular. Without Brooks and Morant (for the most part in his case) in 2023-24, Memphis has completely unraveled.
Smart may not see stability over the course of his Grizzlies career, which may not last very long to begin with. Whenever the time comes, the Boston Celtics need to, and likely will, put themselves in a position to bring No. 36 back home.