Two teams have emerged as serious suitors to pluck Marcus Smart away from the Boston Celtics.
The Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets have inquired about the possibility of a sign-and-trade for the guard, according to a source close to Yahoo Sports' Jordan Schultz.
Smart, a restricted free agent this summer, is reportedly prioritizing a multi-year deal over big money, and is willing to sign for less than $15 million a season. Of course, Boston will have the opportunity to match any offer Smart receives as a restricted free agent.
It appears as though a deal with the Celtics is very unlikely, as the team has had "zero communication or contact" with Smart, who is "hurt" and "disgusted" by the team's lack of interest in an extension.
However, Celtics general manager and president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, dispelled these rumors Wednesday, saying retaining the hard-working guard remains the team's "top priority."
The tense contractual situation means Smart will likely reject his $6.1-million qualifying offer from the Celtics, which is substantially less than he should receive from other interested teams. However, Boston is expected to contend for a NBA title this season, and that could entice Smart to stick around for a shot at a championship and test the market without restrictions next summer.
Boston's crowded and versatile backcourt makes Smart expendable, especially with the emergence of Terry Rozier late last season. Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving and Rozier will all be eating up big minutes, making Smart a potential depth player.
Smart's defensive ability is off the charts, but he's never shot better than 37 percent in a season. The 24-year-old averaged just 10.2 points and 4.8 assists in 54 appearances for the Celtics last year.
A move to either the Grizzlies or Nets would be extremely beneficial for Smart's career. Both teams have room on their respective depth charts at the shooting guard position and already boast strong point guards.
It's easy to visualize the defensive-minded Smart playing alongside either Mike Conley in Memphis, or D'Angelo Russell in Brooklyn.
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