BOSTON – The Celtics have made it clear they want to re-sign Marcus Smart this summer. But if the cost of keeping him proves prohibitive to other moves this summer and next, they may very well have little choice but to let him walk.
Losing Smart would be a tough pill to swallow for the Celtics, for sure.
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But if that void can be filled by a familiar face with a comparable defensive mindset, i.e. former Celtic Avery Bradley, that would certainly have to be an option Boston could consider in free agency.
It is certainly a long shot. Boston made the trade not only for salary cap space to sign Gordon Hayward, but also to provide more opportunities for a perimeter player inTerry Rozier, not to mention to add some more versatility to the frontcourt, which we saw first-hand with Marcus Morris who came over from Detroit.
Look at the Los Angeles Clippers, where Bradley played last season. They traded Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards for big man Marcin Gortat, but wound up acquiring a pair of guards, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Boston College’s Jerome Robinson in the first round of last week’s NBA draft. That creates uncertainty how serious they will be in trying to re-sign Bradley, 27.
But the Celtics have to have a “Plan B” in case things don’t work out with Smart. And that should include at least some consideration of a Bradley reunion in Boston.
Don’t take this as a lobbying effort for bringing Bradley back. He’s a good player, but re-signing Smart should be the Celtics’ top priority in terms of free agency.
But if they have to go in a different direction, why not take a path they're familiar with and frankly, had a decent amount of success with?
Injuries this past season limited Bradley’s effectiveness and ultimately resulted in his least productive season, dating back to when he was a rookie.
And injuries have been, more than anything else, the biggest concern/knock against Bradley.
Nobody knows this better than the Celtics.
When healthy, he provides elite play defensively in addition to being an above-average rebounder from the guard position.
But again, Smart is a more ideal fit with this team based upon his size and versatility, than Bradley. That’s why retaining Smart bodes well in Boston’s quest to bring home Banner 18 next spring.
If, however. the price tag for retaining Smart proves to be too high, they could do a lot worse than Bradley, a two-time all-NBA defender who knows the organization inside and out.