The Indiana Pacers look to be in the second tier of NBA Eastern Conference powers, behind the first tier of the Celtics, Sixers and Raptors. The Pacers could be interested in swinging a deal near the deadline, however, in order to lift them into the elite class. The Ringer’s Bill Simmons and Kevin O’Connor recently discussed Pacers Celtics NBA Trade Rumors in-depth, speaking about how Smart could be a huge chip for Boston this coming winter.
Simmons: I thought Marcus Smart was the perfect guy for the Pacers. I would have overpaid for him. If you were running Indiana would you have overpaid for Marcus? $60 million for four years, something like that?
O’Connor: That’s not much more than what he got, right? I mean, I love Marcus Smart.
Simmons: Would you rather Tyreke and Doug McDermott or Marcus Smart for this season?
O’Connor: For this season? Tyreke and Doug McDermott.
Simmons: I’d rather have Marcus Smart.
O’Connor on Pacers Celtics NBA Trade Rumors: Here’s the thing. Marcus Smart is with Brad Stevens. Even with Boston Marcus Smart still takes these wild shots and makes crazy decisions on the court that make you pull your hair out, that make your blood pressure rise. What happens in a new situation? Does that get worse? It very well might. That would be my fear. Look, he is an unbelievable defensive player. So you live with it.
Simmons: Can I make a counter? Is there a better defensive backcourt in the league than Victor Oladipo and Marcus Smart?
O’Connor: Probably not.
Simmons on Pacers Celtics NBA Trade Rumors: Can you think of another fan base outside of Boston that he would click with better? Those Pacers fans, the way they built that arena – the fans are right on top of the court. I think Marcus would [thrive there]. He’s a proven playoff guy, which is what they need.
O’Connor: Talk about tradeable contracts … Marcus becomes that guy for the Celtics. Either he’s a keeper for you at a fair price, or he’s the guy you use in a deal to get the next [superstar].
Simmons: Him or [Terry] Rozier. I feel like in March, one of those two players – Smart or Rozier – is not on the Celtics.
O’Connor: Unless Boston is thinking, well what if Kyrie leaves?
Simmons: Kyrie’s not leaving. I’m so tired of reading this. Why would Kyrie leave? This is the best possible team to be on from a talent standpoint.
O’Connor on Pacers Celtics NBA Trade Rumors: I’m saying there’s a chance. I don’t think he’s leaving either. But Rozier could be considered insurance.
Simmons: The question for me is, does Boston secretly want him to leave? Let’s say he gets hurt again. Let’s say in December he has yet another knee injury. They can’t afford to pay someone 25, 26, 27 million a year if they’re not convinced he’s healthy. If you just feel like he’s not going to be healthy, you can’t invest in him because you have Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown coming.
Watching Irving walk out the door next summer could open the door for the Celtics to finally pull the trigger on an Anthony Davis deal – which has been rumored for several years now. New Orleans does not look like it’s in any sort of position to seriously compete in the Western Conference this season, which could lead to more Davis frustration.
Boston might actually be more interested in a Davis foundation than an Irving foundation given all of Irving’s injury issues. Davis, still just 25-years-old, is under contract with the Pelicans for the next three seasons.