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Celtics coach Ime Udoka’s Marcus Smart comments hint at trade plans

Marcus Smart, Celtics

The Boston Celtics just hired Ime Udoka to be their new head coach, and he’s making the media rounds to talk about his new team. Tuesday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand, Udoka talked extensively about Marcus Smart, a name that has recently been brought up as a possible trade candidate.

The way Udoka talked about Smart, it would be a shock if the guard is dealt:

Indeed, Smart has been the “heart and soul” of the Celtics for a long time. However, this season’s failures and Smart’s shooting struggles have led some to wonder if Boston would think about trading him in an attempt to shake things up.

The Celtics did just trade Kemba Walker, though, so perhaps that will indeed be the last significant deal made by them before next offseason. Udoka clearly values what Smart brings to the table and how he helps the most important players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, so it would require quite a return to ship him away.

Udoka’s comments don’t mean Smart is definitely going to stick around. Things like this are said all the time about players before teams then ultimately turn around and them. It’s just how the business works.

But this would at least seem to signal a strong desire to keep Smart. Celtics president Brad Stevens will be on the lookout for ways to upgrade the roster after already pulling off the big Walker trade, but for right now it would be a surprise if Smart is moved.