Marcus Smart Reportedly on Trade Block After Celtics Land Gordon Hayward

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2017

BOSTON, MA - MAY 25:  Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics reacts in the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game Five of the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Gordon Hayward and the Boston Celtics agreed to terms on a four-year, $128 million max contract Tuesday night, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania, and the reigning Atlantic Division champions may not be done making moves.

Citing a source, the Norman Transcript's Fred Katz reported the Celtics have "already begun contacting teams about picking up Marcus Smart" as they attempt to carve out a max-salary slot to sign Hayward.

The first move the Celtics made toward accomplishing that goal came Tuesday when they renounced their rights to Kelly Olynyk and made him an unrestricted free agent, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Putting Smart on the trade block now makes sense for the Celtics for a couple of reasons.

Not only do they need to open up cap room to make the Hayward signing official once the moratorium ends, but the 23-year-old is due a qualifying offer worth a shade over $6 million next summer in order to become a restricted free agent.

If the Celtics opted not to extend the qualifying offer, Smart would hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent and they would risk losing him for nothing.

As far as potential suitors go, the Celtics will likely have to target squads with cap space that are comfortable absorbing a salary without sending one back.

And if those teams come forward with interest in Smart, they could net one of the league's hungrier young guards for cheap.

Although Smart has clear offensive limitations—he's a career 35.8 percent shooter from the field and 29.1 percent shooter from three—he's a pure ball of energy on the defensive end.

To that point, Smart averaged 3.0 deflections per game last season, per NBA.com's player-tracking data. He also held shooters to a 42.6 percent conversion rate when operating as their primary defender—a mark that was 1.9 percent lower than the league average field-goal percentage.

Smart will likely never operate as one of the league's premier two-way guards, but his defensive savvy should be coveted by teams willing to take a flier on a former lottery pick who has proved he can be a difference-maker.


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