The emergence of Terry Rozier may affect the Celtics’ willingness to trade Marcus Smart, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Rozier posted a triple-double earlier this week in his first NBA start, then followed that with a 31-point game.
Smart took over as Boston’s primary defensive stopper on the wing after Avery Bradley was traded to Detroit during the offseason. He has excelled in that role, posting the league’s second highest defensive rating of 98.9 among players averaging at least 30 minutes per game. But Smart will be a restricted free agent this summer, and the Celtics may be reluctant to match a sizable offer for someone who will be sharing time with Rozier.
There’s more today out of Boston:
- Smart expects to remain out until after the All-Star break with a hand laceration he received by punching a glass picture frame, relays Taylor Snow of NBA.com. Smart, who was angry about misfiring on a potential game-winning shot against the Lakers in a January 23 game, suffered a cut that required 20 stitches. “Being a competitor, missing the last shot, you kind of get upset with yourself,” Smart said. “You rethink about that night and what you could’ve done differently. You kind of replay everything in your head. As a competitor you want to make every shot, especially with the game on the line, and we fell short. So it was just a lot of frustration about my play as well.”
- The younger Celtics are taking advantage of increased playing time with Kyrie Irving sidelined by a right quadriceps injury, Blakely writes in a separate story. Rozier has been the obvious beneficiary, but rookie forward Abdel Nader has also been making some important plays. “I just think when you’re young and you get the opportunity to play, it’s great experience when you have the responsibility of the game on your shoulders instead of just, you know, when you increase your minutes played,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
- Once free agent Greg Monroe formally signs, he will make the Celtics the clear favorite in the Eastern Conference, Blakely adds in another piece. The veteran center announced his plans to come to Boston after agreeing to a buyout with the Suns earlier this week. He cleared waivers Saturday and is expected to sign soon. Blakely notes that Monroe will give the Celtics the additional size and inside scoring that they have been needing.