Why the Minnesota Timberwolves should not trade for Marcus Smart

While the Minnesota Timberwolves are unlikely to make a splash at the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline, they have recently been linked to Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly interested in Marcus Smart

Let’s start with the obvious: just because an organization has discussed acquiring a certain player internally, or even if they’ve made a phone call or two to officially inquire, it does not mean that they’ve sold out to acquire said player.

That said, if a notable player is mentioned as a legitimate consideration as a trade target, we have to talk about it. It’s also important to note that a given report could easily be coming from the other team’s side.

That seems likely in this case, as the Boston Celtics signed Marcus Smart to a four-year, $77 million contract this offseason. While Smart continues to be a defensive force, his shooting numbers have taken a hit and the Celtics have had something of a disappointing season to this point.

The rumor comes from Jake Fischer at Bleacher Report, who notes that the Wolves would be interested in Smart as a replacement for Patrick Beverley — if Beverley is indeed traded, that is. As we discussed here at DWW on Friday, the odds of a Beverley trade seem quite low, which, in turn, means that the odds of the Wolves acquiring Smart remain low as well.

Why the Minnesota Timberwolves should not trade for Marcus Smart

The Celtics probably wouldn’t mind a mulligan on the Smart contract, and it wouldn’t be a shock if they were the ones putting it out there that the Wolves could have interest in his services.

In a vacuum, Smart would be a fine addition to the Wolves, especially if Beverley was no longer calling Target Center home.

Smart remains a fantastic on-ball and team defender and is five years younger than Beverley. He’s been nowhere near as good of a spot-up shooter for his career as Beverley, however, which matters given the context of the Wolves offense.

With Karl-Anthony Towns commanding double-teams in the post and Anthony Edwards driving seams to the rim, the Wolves need knock-down perimeter shooters. While Beverley is making threes at a career-worst 33.1 percent clip this season, his career mark is 37.9 percent and he’s made 39.5 percent of his attempts over the four seasons preceding the current campaign.

Smart, on the other hand, has shot above 35 percent from 3-point range exactly once, and his career 3-point shooting mark is just 31.9 percent.

Beverley also has a much lower usage rate both this season and for his career, and is turning in a career-best assist rate this year as he’s playing on the ball more alongside D’Angelo Russell and is often tasked with running the second unit.

Unless the Wolves were to somehow get a haul for Beverley in a separate deal (they won’t), there is no incentive to pursue Smart.

The Celtics guard is about to turn 28 years old and will be 31 when the current contract ends. It isn’t a smart play for a Wolves team that needs as much shooting as they can get, and sending out Beverley for Smart doesn’t markedly improve the team elsewhere, either. And that’s to say nothing about the potential impact on the locker room if the Wolves were to jettison the popular Beverley.

Don’t expect Patrick Beverley to be traded prior to the afternoon of Feb. 10. In related news, don’t Marcus Smart wearing a Timberwolves jersey anytime soon.