November 28, 2022

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The Devoted Travel Specialists

Why Marcus Smart believes Celtics should be a prime free-agent destination

The Boston Celtics don’t have the ability to land a big-name free agent this summer, and with a talented young core that just reached the NBA Finals, they don’t necessarily need one.

But can Boston lure an established veteran looking for an opportunity to compete for a championship?

That would have seemed like a long shot just five years ago, when Boston carried a reputation of not being able to attract free-agent talent (especially after Kevin Durant chose the Golden State Warriors over the Celtics in 2016).

Now that the Celtics are fresh off a Finals run, however, point guard Marcus Smart believes his team should be a top choice for veteran free agents.

Marcus Smart fires back at those who say Celtics need ‘star point guard’

“I think over the years we got a bad rep in Boston for free agents, for older vets wanting to come,” Smart told reporters Tuesday at his Young Game Changers basketball clinic, via The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “I think this year really opened a lot of people’s eyes and showed what we can do, how this team is.

“We’re a team. It’s all one. I think that opened a lot of people’s eyes to maybe give it a shot in Boston.”

Unlike “superteams” of the past like LeBron James’ Miami Heat, the Celtics are led by homegrown talent, with Smart and Robert Williams complementing young stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. All four of those players are under contract through at least 2024 (with Brown eligible for an extension this offseason), so this club could be a contender in the Eastern Conference for years to come.

 

The Celtics still need to improve their roster this offseason, though, preferably by adding scoring and playmaking off the bench. Smart said he’d be happy to help Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens in the free-agent recruiting process and thinks his squad is operating from a position of strength this summer.

“I think, for us, we have a lot of power,” Smart said. “It’s just finding the balance. It’s kind of hard to tell you what we need when we just made the Finals.

“Now, obviously, we might need something. At this moment, I couldn’t tell you what that is. I’m sure Brad and his staff will do a good job of finding what we need and trying to get it. If not, then try to do everything we can with what we have.”

NBA free agency begins June 30, and there are some intriguing names the Celtics could add using their taxpayer midlevel exception of $6.4 million — especially if a veteran is willing to take a pay cut to join a contender like Boston.