With Kemba Walker headed to Oklahoma City, Marcus Smart is the next man up for the Boston Celtics at point guard.
At least, for now.
The Celtics are expected to have a busy summer with a possible roster overhaul. Team co-owner Wyc Grousbeck readily admitted he's "prepared" for big changes to the roster this offseason.
Smart, who's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after next season, could be a part of those changes. Or, the Celtics could lock up their longest-tenured player to a contract extension.
On the latest episode of The Ringer's Bill Simmons Podcast, Simmons and Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix discussed how the C's might approach the Smart situation.
"My feeling is either Marcus gets extended or traded, but it'll happen in the next six weeks and it'll be one or the other," Simmons said. "And I would lean toward the extension, but I wouldn't be surprised if they traded him for, I don't know, the seventh pick with the Warriors. ... The 7-9 range is probably his value because I do think contending teams really value him because they've seen him in three conference finals teams. They know he could be a fourth or fifth guy on a really good team."
Mannix mentions the Trail Blazers, who could make some significant changes of their own this summer, as a potential destination for Smart.
"If Portland keeps Lillard -- that's why [CJ] McCollum is intriguing for Boston, because Smart would probably complement Lillard differently at least than McCollum does," Mannix said. "The biggest problem in Portland is there's no defensive backstop there. There's nobody that can guard wings the way Smart can. So you put Smart next to Lillard, you take a lot of pressure off him in that sense. There's a really good market for Marcus Smart."
You can listen to the full segment below:
If Boston does decide to move on from Smart, his absence would be felt both in the backcourt and in the locker room. The 27-year-old has been a leader off the court and an All-Defensive presence on it. Those factors undoubtedly will weigh on president of basketball operations Brad Stevens as he ponders one of his many crucial decisions this offseason.