Appearing at a PGA pro-am event Wednesday in Memphis, Jayson Tatum promised Grizzlies fans that they’re going to love having Marcus Smart on their team (video link from The Memphis Commercial Appeal).
After spending nine years with the Celtics, Smart was shipped to Memphis in a three-team trade to acquire Kristaps Porzingis. Smart provided a fiery presence in Boston, both on and off the court, and Tatum said he’ll bring those same qualities to the Grizzlies.
“They’re getting a leader,” Tatum said. “They’re getting a guy who’s a winner, who’s been to the playoffs every year. We’ve been to the Finals together obviously, so he knows what it takes to get there. Obviously extremely talented, the best defender in the league. He’s just a guy that you love to have on your team.”
There’s more from Boston:
- The Celtics addressed a major offseason priority when they signed Jaylen Brown to a super-max extension, but they have more extension decisions to make, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Around the start of October, Derrick White will be eligible for a three-year extension that could be worth up to $85.3MM. White is projected to take over as the starting point guard with Smart gone, and he’s coming off a second-team All-Defensive nod last season. If the Celtics want to extend White this year, they’ll have until opening night to finalize a deal with the veteran guard, who has two more years on his current contract. Malcolm Brogdon will also become extension-eligible, Himmelsbach notes, but he believes a new contract is less likely considering Brogdon’s age and injury history, along with the six-month trade trade restriction that comes with an extension.
- Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck is a supporter of the new mid-season tournament and hopes his team can reach the finals in Las Vegas, Himmelsbach adds. “I’m a big international soccer fan, and I see they’ve got three trophies they can go for every year,” Grousbeck said. “So I’m already looking forward to it. I like having something new for guys to play for during the fall and give fans something to watch. Let’s see how it goes.”
- Jared Weiss of The Athletic looks at the lineup options that Porzingis will provide for head coach Joe Mazzulla. The Celtics will have a much taller starting five and can experiment with a twin towers approach with Porzingis playing alongside Robert Williams. Weiss also envisions Porzingis and Tatum being effective with the second unit while Brown is resting.