Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has remained a key part of the lineup when healthy, but he is also generating interest in the trade market ahead of Thursday's deadline.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Atlanta Hawks have "expressed interest" in Smart since he came back from a calf strain.
This buzz comes amid trade rumors with Hawks forward John Collins, with Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer listing the Celtics as one of five teams involved in a potential deal.
Smart entered Monday averaging 12.6 points and a career-high 5.4 assists in 23 games this season. He has played all six games since the All-Star break, starting the last three.
While shooting consistency remains an issue for the 27-year-old, he has scored 19 points twice since returning and topped 20 in back-to-back losses to the 76ers in January.
The 6'3", 220-pound guard is still mostly known for his effort on the other end of the court, earning first-team All-Defense honors in each of the last two years. This skill set could be valuable for Atlanta, which ranks just 18th in defensive efficiency this season.
The Hawks are back in the playoff picture after eight straight victories and are fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 22-20 record. Adding a key role player like Smart could help clinch a postseason berth for the first time since 2017.
Boston, meanwhile, is trending in the wrong direction and could seek a trade to shake things up. The C's are sixth in the East with a 21-21 record and only 1.5 games ahead of the ninth-place Indiana Pacers.
Clearing Smart's $13.4 million salary-cap hit for this season and $14.3 million mark in 2021-22 could also be useful for the Celtics. The team owes an estimated $89.7 million combined to just Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker next season.