Led by All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota looks like a playoff team this season. The 27-25 Timberwolves sit as the No. 7 seed in the West, just one game back of Denver and the avoid-the-play-in sixth seed (although catching the Nuggets or fifth seed Mavericks will be difficult).
The Timberwolves want to secure that spot with an upgrade at the trade deadline — they are “definitely” working to trade for Marcus Smart from the Boston Celtics, via the well-connected Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and @SkorNorth.
“Minnesota definitely trying to trade for Marcus Smart.
But, unless they include a first-round pick or Jaden McDaniels in addition to Malik Beasley, [a deal] most likely doesn’t get done.”
— Timberwolves Clips (@WolvesClips) February 4, 2022
This has been reported before; Minnesota likes the idea of a Smart and D'Angelo Russell backcourt with Towns and Anthony Edwards up front. Smart would take over the Patrick Beverley role, if Beverley is traded (which does not seem likely).
That’s because Boston highly values Smart. He is an elite defender, and while he isn’t a great scorer he is a solid floor general who leads the Celtics in assists (5.5 per game) and forms a strong trio with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown — when the three of them are on the court together this season the Celtics have a +11.6 net rating. The best sign how much Boston values him? The sides agreed to a four-year, $76.5 million contract extension that kicks in next season.
Minnesota is not the only team calling about Smart, the rumors will keep flying between now and the deadline. But prying Smart out of Boston will not be easy and it’s not likely he gets dealt.