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Celtics Reportedly Discussed A Marcus Smart Trade With Atlanta Hawks

BOSTON (CBS) -- There are rumors aplenty surrounding the Boston Celtics, a team that is expected to be pretty active ahead of the NBA's Feb. 10 trade deadline. The biggest name that could be dealt is Marcus Smart, with Boston's starting point guard reportedly drawing interest from a few teams around the league.

The Celtics have even had trade talks surrounding Smart, as Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported on Thursday. Before the Hawks dealt Cam Reddish to the Knicks, Atlanta reportedly discussed a deal that would have sent Reddish and sharpshooter Kevin Heurter to Boston for Smart.

The two sides only discussed the framework of a potential deal, and Fischer added that "it's unclear how far that dialogue progressed." Smart signed a four-year extension with Boston over the offseason and wasn't eligible to be traded until Jan. 25, so the Hawks looked elsewhere for a trade. Reddish was dealt to the Knicks on Jan. 13.

It makes sense that the Hawks would be interested in Smart. Trae Young is a supremely gifted offensive talent, but Atlanta's star guard may be allergic to defense. Smart would have helped give the Hawks backcourt a lot more defensive credibility.

Had that discussed deal come to fruition, the Celtics would have lost their defensive leader but would have added a pair of young shooters to stretch the floor for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. It also would play into Brad Stevens' quest for future flexibility, shedding Smart's deal from the books before his big paydays arrive.

But that deal wouldn't have made the present Celtics any better, and it doesn't sound like Stevens is very eager to move on from Smart, the longest tenured member of the team. Fischer added later in his piece that it would take "significant value in return" for the Celtics to deal Smart at the deadline.

Teams may up their ante for Smart as the deadline approaches, and the Dallas Mavericks were recently linked to him on the trade front. But the Celtics are enjoying a bit of an upswing at the moment, and though they're sitting at just 25-24 on the season, the team's defense remains one of the best in the NBA. Smart has a lot to do with that, and given the extension he was given in the offseason, the Celtics would probably prefer to see if he can continue to be a bully on defense while he gets more comfortable as Boston's primary ball handler.

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