Marcus Smart is a restricted free agent. Boston can keep him easily enough if they match whatever offer another team would throw at him. Smart is an exceptional on-ball defender, something the Phoenix Suns desperately need in their backcourt. For the Celtics, Smart signals the start of a long line of players they’re going to have to pay as the years go by. Irving, Morris, Brown, Rozier; the list goes on and on.
For them to let Smart go, it would take some decent compensation. In this trade with Phoenix, they would get a good backup big man on an expiring contract in Chandler. They’d only move back 4 spots, plus grab 16 from the Suns. And they’d get a somewhat distant future first rounder from the Suns. Letting go of Smart is certainly not Boston’s preference, but they can’t pay all of their young players, especially with some of the bigger names coming up to be re-signed for them. I think this is a good exchange for losing a younger defender like Smart, while clearing up more cap room for next summer when Rozier and possibly Irving comes off their books and need to be re-upped.