Celtics

McCollum praises Smart extension, Celtics' offseason

Celtics

Led by newly-appointed president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, the Boston Celtics have been among the most active teams this NBA offseason. 

The roster for 2021-22 will include several newcomers, but perhaps the most important moves of the summer involved players already on the team. Marcus Smart -- the longest-tenured Celtic -- and big man Robert Williams both signed to four-year contract extensions.

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As polarizing as Smart's $77 million deal might be, Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum believes it was a solid move for both sides. He explained why on a recent episode of his Pull Up Podcast.

"I like Marcus Smart a lot," McCollum said. "I think he would've been great for the Portland Trail Blazers. He would've been great for a lot of teams because he can shoot 3s, he can guard, he can initiate offense, he does all the little things, and he just wants to win at the end of the day. I think that's what you need on your roster, guys who will go take charges, who can guard 1 through 5, and will do anything to win. ...

"At $77 million over four (years), I think it's a great deal for Boston. I also think it's a good move for Smart because you never know what's going to happen in this league, it's very fickle. ... I think he made the right decision." 

In addition to Smart and Williams' extensions, the Celtics traded for guards Josh Richardson and Kris Dunn, signed point guard Dennis Schroder, brought back centers Enes Kanter and Al Horford, and added another big man in Bruno Fernando.

 

If you ask McCollum, that's a successful first offseason for Stevens as a member of Boston's front office.

"Brad Stevens has done a good job so far, I think, looking at the moves he's made," McCollum said. "I think he's more comfortable in this role. Having coached for a long time, he understands the players, he understands the city, he understands what they need and what they're missing. But the East is going to be very tough."

Smart averaged 13.1 points and 5.7 assists through 48 games in 2020-21 while shooting 39.8 percent from the floor. The 27-year-old will look to improve those numbers next season, presumably as the Celtics' starting point guard.