After punching a picture frame in frustration while the team was in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, Marcus Smart was left with a gash on his right hand. The cut has kept him out of the Boston Celtics' last four games, and he could miss up to two more weeks.
Now, Smart is back in the headlines for an entirely different reason. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics would be willing to trade Smart in exchange for a first-round pick. Wojnarowski discussed the situation on his recent podcast with Bobby Marks. As transcribed by USA Today:
"You talk about Marcus Smart, he's a player that's available for a first round pick. If a team was willing to give Boston a first, Boston would look at," Woj said in the latest edition of his podcast with Bobby Marks. "If they didn't have to take back a lot of money going out in the future. He's restricted this summer, you don't know what it will cost to keep him."
"He's proven he can help you win a playoff game or two. He doesn't shoot great from 3-point line, some of the things you want from a guard in this day and age. He defends, he's super competitive. But they can't pay everybody in Boston and they're going to have to make decisions. But does a team want to give up a first for a player when they don't know what it will cost to keep him. I'm not sure that will happen. But I think certainly if they were going to make a move with one of their core guys, there's potential that it's going to be Smart."
The Celtics and Smart failed to reach an extension prior to the deadline for those kind of decisions this season, so Smart will be a restricted free agent this summer. While the Celtics would assuredly love to have him back, they could face some competition for him in free agency. If another team offers Smart too much money, the Celtics could be forced to let him walk.
It appears, then, that Ainge and Co. are trying to get out ahead of the situation by seeing what other teams would be willing to offer to get Smart for themselves. At this point, though, it doesn't seem that anything is imminent.