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Celtics' Marcus Smart on Kevin Durant Trade Rumors: Won't Believe It Until It Happens

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 14, 2022

Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Marcus Smart does not seem bothered that his name came up in Kevin Durant trade rumors this offseason.

"For someone who's always talked about in trade talks, I didn't really pay too much mind to that. Until it actually happens, I don't believe it," Smart told Jared Weiss of The Athletic. "We can sit here and say this person said this, but we don't even know who said it. It's like a telephone game. By the time it gets back to you, you don't know what changed and who said what. Until it actually happens, I try to pay trade rumors no mind."

The Brooklyn Nets wanted Smart, Jaylen Brown, several draft picks and perhaps another player for Durant, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. The Celtics balked at that asking price, and Durant ultimately recommitted to Brooklyn.

It's worth noting that Smart, rather than Brown, was the piece that made Boston resistant to the blockbuster. Charania reported the Celtics offered Brown, Derrick White and a pick to the Nets but were "less inclined" to offer a package that included Smart with multiple other players or picks.

Smart is the NBA's reigning Defensive Player of the Year and became the first guard to win it since Gary Payton in 1995-96. They are the only point guards to earn the honor.

While his defensive presence on the perimeter is stellar, Smart is also a vital emotional leader for Boston. Brown and Jayson Tatum tend to be more measured, whereas Smart is expressive on the floor and behind the scenes.

“When I told those guys I love them, I meant it," Smart told reporters before the NBA Finals. "We've all been through some things individually. Al [Horford], Jaylen, couple of those guys that have been here with me. My mom passed; they flew all the way to Dallas for the funeral. That was for real. It wasn't no tactic. It was nothing. That was me being who I am and it was being true. We have a special bond outside of basketball, and to be able to go to war with those guys makes that bond even stronger.”

Smart expressed gladness that the Celtics did not shake up their core, saying he wants to "run it back" with last season's Eastern Conference champions.

How Boston's rejection of Brooklyn's blockbuster proposal is remembered will be determined by how successful these Celtics are.

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