Bulls, Suns, Pacers Among Potential Marcus Smart Suitors?

Marcus Smart is less than a week from reaching restricted free agency, and potential suitors for the four-year veteran are beginning to emerge. According to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), the Bulls, Suns, Pacers, and Mavericks are among the teams that could challenge the Celtics for Smart’s services.

The Mavericks were identified as a possible suitor for Smart last week, but the draft results may have altered their free agency plans. Having selected Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson on Thursday, Dallas appears more likely to target big men in free agency — Schultz suggests the Mavs’ interest in Smart “depends on [the] price.”

As for the other teams mentioned by Schultz, they’d all make some sense as potential landing spots. The Pacers are closer to contending than Phoenix or Chicago, but at age 24, Smart is capable of either contributing right away to a playoff team or being a long-term building block for a club that’s still a year or two away.

The Suns’ point guard outlook remains somewhat unclear, with Brandon Knight coming off a torn ACL and Elie Okobo probably not ready for a major role. The Bulls have Kris Dunn at the point, while the Pacers figure to retain Darren Collison and Cory Joseph. However, both of those teams should have cap space, and could use Smart to create intriguing combinations in their respective backcourts.

Smart, who missed time with a thumb injury in 2017/18, averaged 10.2 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 3.5 RPG for the season. While his numbers – particularly his .367/.301/.729 shooting line – were modest, the 24-year-old is considered one of the NBA’s most talented perimeter defenders, and has been a culture-setter in Boston.

There’s mutual interest between Smart and the Celtics for a new deal, but the club has several other expensive long-term commitments to consider, so it’s not clear how high the front office will be willing to go to retain the hard-nosed guard.

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26 thoughts on “Bulls, Suns, Pacers Among Potential Marcus Smart Suitors?

  1. justinept

    He’s not coming to Chicago to be a backup on a last place team unless the money is outrageous.

    …which means he’s likely coming to Chicago because Gar/Pax are just awful.

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    • hiflew

      He wouldn’t be the backup. Dunn would be done, pun intended.

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      • justinept

        Dunn had better stats across the board. Every single metric favored Dunn over Smart. But yea- nice pun I guess.

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        • bigchiefbc

          Except for win shares, +/-, and pretty much every defensive measure.

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          • justinept

            If you knew how win shares were measured, you’d see how ridiculous your comment is…

            Win shares are a measurement of a player’s value to his own team’s success, but The measurement starts with the TEAM. A team’s total win shares is three times its total wins- e.g., Boston had 55 wins. So the win shares of all Celtics players will equal 165. The Bulls had 27 wins. So the win shares of its team will equal 81.

            So kudos to Smart for having 1 more WS than a guy who played on a team that won less than half as many games.

            If you want a metric that actually takes into account their individual contributions, maybe look anywhere else… perhaps PER where Dunn’s average 14.8 was better than Smart’s below average 10.5

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      • binoyt

        Dunn, Smart and Hutchison should be in the same lineup along with Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter jr incase if Lavine gets a bigger deal that the Bulls not willing to match.

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    • bdallen714

      It would be interesting to see him join the Pacers squad, mesh with Oladipo, Turner and Sabonis, as well as the rest of the roster. If you believe what has been written about Chicago and Dunn lately, he may replace Dunn. A couple days before the draft someone wrote an article saying that Chicago staff was unhappy with Dunn, whether true or not I don’t know.

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      • chiefivey

        smart is one of my favorite players, i dont see him coming to chicago. the timeline doesnt really make sense, unless they throw him a max (pls dont at garpax). honestly hes an important piece for boston. they dont make it to the conference finals without him.

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      • knuck2

        That rumor was refuted by Bulls management but what else would you expect them to say?

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      • Djones246890

        There’s a ton of misinformation and disinformation put out before drafts, in order to throw up smokescreens, and get teams to draft players you never had interest in, but you want them to think you have interest in.

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  2. formerlyz

    Phoenix makes a lot of sense for Smart. They can poison pill Smart or give him 3 years/$45 million, with an option and see if Boston matches. Maybe add a trade kicker to make it less enticing for Boston to match. They’ll still have cap space next year when everyone else expires

    Smart, Booker, Bridges, Jackson, Ayton. Warren as a scorer off the bench

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  3. bigeasye

    As a Boston fan I love smart at the right price. He’s a great defender and a good fourth option. Relying on him as anything other than that, and over 10-12million is asking for something that won’t be beneficial in the long run. He’s best suited for Boston where his style of play and heart inspire and he is not relied upon for meaningful offensive productivity. I’d be reluctant to hand him more than $10 mill.

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    • That’s exactly right. He’s not a guy you give big money to and make him your starting point guard. That would be a mistake.

      But I love his game. He does everything a coach wants and more. Perfect guy off the bench, your third guy. But he’s not a shooter Off the Bench he’s not a microwave Off the Bench. But, you want him on the floor 35 minutes!!

      I like the 10 million dollar slot you mentioned. Good call. Anything more would be too much for a guy that’s Limited.

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  4. x%sure

    The things being said about Smart are the same as Avery Bradley and I haven’t heard much about him lately.

    Also Crowder, and IT (except for defense). Heart & soul, etc. Predict 2/$15 on IND, $10 guaranteed. NBA FOs are being jerks anymore with longterm contracts.

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    • Boston plays better with Smart. If you put Kyrie, Hayward, Horford, Tatum, and Kawhi Leonard together with Smart and the rookies off the bench, they’ll beat Golden State! Stevens is the best young coach in the NBA.

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      • yanksknicks

        What rookies off the bench? Who are you trading for kawhi?

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        • I’m trading Rozier, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris, the 6’8″ guy from Germany, the Memphis pick, and the Clippers pick. That is what they are saying.
          The Celtics got a perfect pick for them in Robert Williams. They still have Semi Olejeiye (spelling?), and Daniel Thiel. To sign Kyrie and Horford next season they will have to starting signing players for the minimum like Golden State.

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    • Like Pacer CEO Kevin Pritchard said if you overpay and fail on a star, you lose 3-4 years. If you lose on a guy on a $10 million a year on a 2 year contract, you’ll be ok. I’ll take a team like the Pacers any day. Great team chemistry. No bloated egos. Collison had a comeback year. Sabonis, Oladipo, and Bogdanovich had their best years. Great CEO, great coach, fun team. Everyone in Indianapolis is happy.

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    • That’s true about Avery Bradley. He was borderline all star with Boston and now you never hear from him. The situation you’re in matters and helps you succeed or not. Boston was actually better with Marcus Morris even though he was part of the salary reduction Boston needed to sign Gordon Hayward. It’ll be interesting to see if Avery Bradley recaptures his form. He was definitely part of the grit and toughness of Boston the last few years.

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      • Who will be better? Boston adding Kawhi (Leonard, Tatum, Horford, Hayward, and Kyrie) or Golden State (Curry, Durant, Green, Thompson, Dwight Howard)?

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        • Great question. Seems like the Celtics beat the Warriors at least once every year the Last 3-5 Years. They’ve been a thorn in the side for the Warriors. Very tough and gritty and well-coached.

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  5. Sooo glad Dallas isn’t interested in him anymore… his shooting numbers ain’t modest, are just plain awful. However good is his hustle & D, is a bench player, you cannot pay over 10MM for a sub, never ever, otherwise you will always have cap issues.

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  6. I read Aaron Gordon and Zach Lavine would sign new contracts and be swapped for each other.

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    • x%sure

      Ptetty ballsy trade! The FOs might like for them to establish a market value for each other by equalization for the trade, thus preventing hard feelings.

      In theory. Probably has never happened before, in the end won’t now.

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