Marcus Smart was one of the Boston Celtics who found his name in trade talks for Kevin Durant over the summer, alongside Jaylen Brown, before Durant and the Brooklyn Nets decided to move forward together.
And Smart told Bobby Manning of CLNS Media that Brown has taken the rumors in stride, while he has taken them as a compliment:
"(Brown's) handled it great. He walks around with a smile on his face. We actually haven't even mentioned it when we were together. We were just talking about the upcoming season and getting ourselves ready, but he's great. He's handling it as professionally as he can and my advice is, to anybody, don't forget it's a business first. When you're doing business, personal stuff has to go out the window and can't be the issue, so you can't look at it like that. If your name is up there in trade talks, I look at it as a compliment. It means teams want you. That's a good thing. The problem is if your name is not (in rumors), nobody wants you. So that's how I'm looking at it and that's how people should look at it. It's tough, I understand it, but just because it's going on, you never know. Anything can happen."
From a logical perspective, it would be hard for most players to blame their teams for dangling them in trade talks if there was a chance to land a future Hall of Famer like Durant, one of the greatest pure scorers in NBA history.
But there is an emotional component to sports too, especially for players who have spent their entire careers in one city like Smart. The 28-year-old is entering his ninth season in Boston and has long been considered the heart and soul of this Celtics team.
So there's no doubt that Smart would probably be aggrieved, at least privately—and justifiably so—if he were ever traded.
It may be a compliment to be wanted by other teams, but it doesn't mean you want to uproot your life and move to a new city either. Especially the summer after you helped the Celtics get back to the NBA Finals for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Or after being named the Defensive Player of the Year.
Smart was excellent for the Celtics in the 2021-22 campaign, averaging 12.1 points, 5.9 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game, shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 33.1 percent from three.
While some of his playmaking deficiencies were exposed by the Golden State Warriors in the Finals, there's little doubt that Smart's defense and leadership have been vital for the Celtics in the Jayson Tatum and Brown era.
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Smart reflects on Finals loss, lessons learned: “We have to take the lesson the hard way. We learned a lot out of our experience and unfortunately we had to lose to do that, but we now know what it takes." <br><br>Full story: <a href="https://t.co/a4oc5QZ5wq">https://t.co/a4oc5QZ5wq</a> <a href="https://t.co/en2lSvQRPl">pic.twitter.com/en2lSvQRPl</a>
So there would have been an emotional fallout if he had been dealt, even for a player of Durant's ilk.
But it's a moot point now. Smart is back in Boston, and the current iteration of the team will be looking to get over the hump and win a title.