Marcus Smart, currently with the Memphis Grizzlies, was widely adored during his time with the Boston Celtics, but he believes the organization did not treat him fairly when they traded him.
In a recent conversation with Jared Weiss of The Athletic before the start of the NBA season, Smart expressed his dissatisfaction with how the Celtics handled his trade to the Grizzlies. He conveyed his feelings of not being upfront with him during the trade process.
Smart remarked, “You always want to be where you’re wanted, and another team’s trash is another team’s gold. So I’m glad to be here [with Memphis]. I’m glad to be on an organization that wants me and sees me [as] great value. So I’m ecstatic and I’m ready to get going.”
He also added, “If I’m being quite frank, I knew I would be traded [by Boston] eventually. I just figured it would be the next season, just based off my contract and the new CBA. We already knew that. But it was just the way it happened. I was told everything was good after asking multiple times. Like, [I told the Celtics], ‘I’m hearing [rumors], what’s going on?’ And they’re like, ‘No, you’re good, you’re good, you’re good.’ Then when I do hear about the trade, it’s from Shams [Charania] on Twitter before I hear from the team.”
For some context, Smart was traded to the Grizzlies in June as part of a three-team deal that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics. The initial trade arrangement had the LA Clippers involved instead of the Grizzlies (with Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon being traded). However, that trade fell apart due to Brogdon’s health issues, which allowed the Grizzlies to step in and complete the trade for Smart to finalize the Porzingis deal.
Reports at the time suggested that Smart, a beloved Celtics player who had won the Defensive Player of the Year award (the second in franchise history after Kevin Garnett in 2008), was entirely surprised by the trade. Nonetheless, abrupt and unceremonious trades of beloved franchise players are not uncommon for the Boston Celtics.