Has Marcus Smart Played His Last Game for the Boston Celtics?

We all should have seen this coming eventually, but now it’s official.

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart re-aggrevated his thumb injury from earlier this season and it will now require surgery. While the surgery is going to end his regular season, there is hope that he can return at some point during the postseason. But without Smart in the lineup, how far can the Celtics even make it in the playoffs?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Marcus Smart is monumental to this team’s success. We all saw how out of sync they looked right before the all-star break when he went out the first time, it was not pretty by any means. Now they have to face the same challenge but with an even thinner bench. Nobody knows how long Jaylen is going to be out and Kyrie is still battling knee issues. That puts a lot of pressure on Terry Rozier’s shoulders, who has done fine in those situations this year. But how long can he really keep that up? I’d like to see it happen, but there have been stretches this season where he hasn’t had much of an impact.

If the Celtics can’t stay alive in the playoffs without Smart, there’s a pretty good chance we’ve seen him play his last game in green. He’s a restricted free agent this summer, so if somebody offers him a contract that is absolutely through the roof, I have a hard time seeing Danny Ainge match it. We’ve seen it happen before, with Allen Crabbe and Otto Porter Jr. being some recent examples. The deals that their original teams winded up matching ultimately placed them in cap jail. The Blazers even winded up trading Crabbe because they simply couldn’t hold on to his deal and have any sort of flexibility. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Washington to the same exact thing with Porter.

I hope I’m wrong here because I love Marcus Smart. It’d be hard to swallow losing him and Avery Bradley in back to back off-seasons. But at the end of the day, sports are a business. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Celtics make a business decision by letting Smart walk away in free agency if the number is too high.

-Nick Cherico (@NickCherico2)

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