Monroe's Contribution in Boston - Smart to deal Marcus?

The NBA trade deadline is coming up quick, February 8, 3:00 p.m. to be exact. There are teams out there that are still scrambling to get the pieces they think will put their team over the top in order to make a playoff push. It is fair to say that the Celtics have had their ups and downs this season, despite their outstanding record this far at (39-16). Are there moves that the Celtics should make to change the mind of some that don't believe they are championship contenders?

It is that time of the month, the battle to the NBA deadline! To begin, a few notables on the trade market. George Hill (Kings), Lou Williams (Clippers), Tyreke Evans (Grizzlies), Kemba Walker (Hornets), DeAndre Jordan (Clippers), Rodney Hood (Jazz), Avery Bradly (Clippers).

Now let's be honest, there is only so much talent an organization can acquire in order to put up a fight against teams like Golden State, Houston, or even a star-studded team like Oklahoma City in the West. The East is debatably up for grabs for any legitimate contending team to push for a one through six seed. So far, there hasn't been any blockbuster trades, but there is a high possibility some of the players listed above can be moved. DeAndre Jordan is one of the big market players that have been discussed in many trades. Teams like Washington and Cleveland were interested in acquiring him. Cleveland has offered J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, and a 1st round pick for DeAndre Jordan. This trade has not been accepted nor denied. Kemba Walker was also mentioned in the same sentence as teams such as San Antonio and New York.

Moving towards what Boston has planned, another notable free agent that was on the block, Greg Monroe was in the middle of being signed by the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans. Both made their pitch to the nine-year NBA veteran in hope to get him to sign with them. The Pelicans put up an offer of a 1-year/2.2 million dollar deal compared to the Celtics 1-year/5 million dollar deal. Ultimately, Monroe decided to go against his hometown team, New Orleans, and sign with Boston.

Putting together this deal with an experienced power forward/center, the Celtics look to be just getting started with adding players to the roster. Monroe had to initially be bought out from his contract by the Phoenix Suns that was worth 17.8 million. He was then granted to sign with either team and chose Boston. Boston is using the money they have from Gordon Hayward's disabled player exception contract. One specific question arising from NBA followers of this franchise is, "Will using this disabled player exception money have any barrier to Hayward potentially playing at the end of this season?" The answer to this question is no; if Hayward and the Celtics feel that he is healthy enough to play, the decision is ultimately up to him and his medical consultants to make that decision. Now hypothetically speaking, if the Celtics are playing great basketball and feel that the team has a serious chance at reaching the NBA finals, bringing back Hayward will give them that edge to go against GS, Houston, or whoever people think will be representing the Western Conference this year.

The signing of Greg Monroe is the first step in increasing their playoff push. Making their bench more deep with talent, and adding depth to their frontcourt. Boston is recognized as one of the top defensive teams in the NBA this season; a bunch of hungry, young prospects fighting for playing time while taking pride on the floor both offensively and defensively. With the addition of Monroe to the team, this will drastically improve the Celtics lack of rebounding they are recently struggling with, ranking at 14th in the league. This will also help deal with the minor injuries that have been apart of the team lately.

Trust, trust, trust. In Danny [Ainge], we trust! The slogan that has been used throughout this organization in recent years, fans of Boston you need to keep trusting. Monroe's stat line when he was with the Suns this season was 10.4ppg, 7.4rpg, and 2.2apg; all being done with the span of 23 minutes per game. The Celtics can utilize Monroe's ability for fresh legs off the bench and help the team be more of a defensive presence underneath the basket. This season Aron Baynes has had to be the man to hold down the paint along with Al Horford. Both have done an exceptional job doing so. With Baynes on the floor, the Celtics have a defensive rating of 95.5 (best) and when off the floor 102.2 (worst). Adding a player like Monroe will help get rest for players like Baynes, Horford, and Morris. Monroe will also play a big role in the offense with his ability to score and pass when scorers like Irving and Brown are getting rest on the bench which has also been a problem for the team as of recent. Adding a player with the ability and experience of Greg Monroe fits perfect with the Celtics. With the talent that this team is already built with, behind the brilliant minds of Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge, I see the C's going nowhere but up.

This was a very interesting rumor around the NBA, a Marcus Smart trade. Smart seems to be a question mark to fans that don't really know what he is about and maybe even some organizations in the league. One thing he is known for is his "smart" plays. Marcus plays a vital role for the Celtics coming off the bench and giving quality minutes. Even though he rarely blows up the stat sheet, he puts up consistent numbers such as the ones he is this season, 10.1ppg, 4.7ast, 3.0rpg.Smart suffered an injury on Jan. 24 after an attempt to make a game-winning shot against the Los Angelas Lakers that he missed, then proceeded to the locker room and punched a picture frame. Smart was required to get 20 stitches to repair his hand (right). Before the incident Smart went through, he was averaging 12.3 points per game. The Celtics are asking for a 2018 1st round pick, which is not surprising considering the talented draft class that follows this NBA season.

So the question is, is it more beneficial to trade Marcus Smart for a mid-to-late 1st round pick if offered? Adding to that pick the Celtics will receive an additional 1st round pick from the Lakers at the end of this season, so it may not be the worst idea to see what we can get for him at most. The C's already have potential-filled guards on the team like Jaylen Brown, Jason Tatum, Terry Rozier, Shane Larkin, and Jabari Bird.

If the Celtics do decide to deal Smart, Ainge is going to get something worth it in return. Marcus Smart works too hard for this organization to get dealt away for nothing. At the end of the day, if the Celtics organization remains how it is the path to the Finals doesn't seem to be unrealistic, in any way.

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