Marcus Smart, the longtime Boston Celtics captain, will not be able to face his former team on Sunday due to a sprained ankle. The Grizzlies will host the Eastern Conference powerhouse with a badly undermanned roster. For Smart, this was a game he had encircled in his calendar after he was sent to Memphis by the Celtics in a three-team deal. He will have to wait for another opportunity to go up against some of his closest friends.
The former Defensive Player of the Year was interviewed before the game by NBC Sports’ Abby Chin about his injury. He had this to say about what it meant to him, especially considering the background behind tonight’s Celtics-Grizzlies matchup:
“We’ve been struggling. We got a great win last night. To come back and play a team like Boston and not be a part of it is definitely devastating.”
Hearing Smart make those comments will be strange for Cs fans. He was drafted by Boston in 2014 and slowly but steadily made his impact on the team. After Kyrie Irving left the team in the summer of 2019, he became Boston’s leader and captain.
Marcus Smart was with the Celtics during their struggles after the glory years of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. He was a rookie when Rajon Rondo took the reins as the team’s unquestioned leader. “Wolverine” was still in the lineup when the team ushered in the Jaylen Brown-Jayson Tatum era.
Smart outlasted Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. Ultimately, he was made the Celtics’ point guard after Walker was traded to the OKC Thunder in 2021 to bring back Al Horford. Most fans thought he would hold that role for years.
Marcus Smart’s longevity in Boston and his role with the team didn’t matter at all in the end. Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens decided the team would be better with Kristaps Porzingis in the lineup. “Wolverine” just had to be the piece Boston would have to land the Latvian.
Marcus Smart found out he was traded via Twitter
Marcus Smart reportedly couldn’t hold back his tears when he found out the Boston Celtics had traded him. Worse, he found out about it not from the team’s front office but from Twitter.
The three-time All-NBA Defensive team member was interviewed by “The Athletic” a few weeks after he was dealt to Memphis. Smart had this to say about the trade:
“If I’m being quite frank, I knew I would be traded eventually,” Smart said. “Just figured it would be the next season, just based off my contract and with the new CBA. We already knew that. But it was just the way it happened.
“I was told everything was good after asking multiple times. Like, ‘I’m hearing [rumors], what’s going on?’ And they’re like, ‘No, you’re good, you’re good, you’re good.’ And then when I do hear about the trade, it’s from Shams [Charania] on Twitter before I hear from the team.”
On Sunday night, Marcus Smart will meet some of his closest friends who also went to his wedding in the offseason. He can only cheer against them when the Grizzlies host the Celtics. His next opportunity to play against his former team will be on Feb. 5 at the TD Garden.
Edited by Michael Macasero