And yet, as the start of free agency approaches this weekend, Marcus Smart remains optimistic about the state of the franchise — even as both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford appear headed elsewhere next month.
“I’m excited,” Smart said Tuesday afternoon at his annual basketball camp at Brandeis University. “We’re excited. As competitors, you have a season like we did last year and it leaves a funny taste in your mouth.new nike nfl jerseys cheap
“We use that as our motivation and to keep going. We’re very excited. Whatever team or whatever people or whoever is on the board or whoever is on this roster with us, we’re excited to have them to go out there and fight.”
Still, to have both Irving and Horford likely leaving the franchise as free agents is not what anyone was expecting would happen this time a year ago, when the Celtics were the favorites to take over for LeBron James as rulers of the Eastern Conference for years to come.
Instead, the Celtics never got going this season, finishing fourth in the conference and eventually getting rolled in five games by the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Smart was asked about the up-and-down nature of Boston’s season, but pushed back on the idea that the locker room itself was disconnected.
“Even in the regular season, it wasn’t a disconnect,” he said. “It was just a lot of people kind of got in and … it was like a telephone game. You tell one person this, and by the time it gets back to you, the whole narrative had changed. That’s kind of how it goes.
“You can only control what you can control. You focus on what you can focus on. As a player, you focus on getting into the gym, getting yourself better and you let the front office handle the front office stuff, and you do what it is you need to do for the team.“cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
“Hey, the thing is, the Raptors just won the championship, right?” Smart asked. “But they’ve got to start back over from the beginning just like we do. So we all start back over at the starting line, we all start at zero, and we all get a chance to do it.
“So everybody’s starting over, regardless if they have the same team or not, they’ve all got to start from the beginning. That’s how we take it. We take it as we come in, and we have an opportunity to do something special, and we get another chance to do it.”
However Smart admitted that he expected things to change after Boston’s disappointing season — even if he wasn’t quite expecting both of the team’s veteran star free agents to depart.