Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart could be sent to Denver during the 2018 trade deadline (Mary Schwalm/AP Photo)

The Denver Nuggets are in the market to improve their backcourt and are really in need of a point guard. While Marcus Smart isn’t a pure point guard, the Nuggets could use his gritty personality on a mediocre defensive team. Smart seems to be on the chopping block as Boston has made it be known that Smart could be had for a first-round pick. Marc Stein of the New York Times has reported that the Nuggets have been kicking the tires on a potential deal involving Smart.

Mudiay has underachieved during his time with Denver but has always been a player with a high ceiling. Jamal Murray has really blossomed into the Nuggets starting point guard so it seems Mudiay is the trade chip the Nuggets have been pushing to try to get the trade done. Mudiay has averaged 8.5 points and 2.9 assists per game on 39.4 percent shooting. Mudiay has great athletic traits but hasn’t put it all together yet.

Smart is clearly the better player but is scheduled to hit restricted free agency this summer. Mudiay comes with two years of control compared to Smart set to hit the market. The Celtics prefer to add a first-round pick because the organization knows that they can’t pay everyone. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier are on rookie deals and Boston simply can’t just fork over the cash for their entire young core.

Boston already has a boatload of first-round picks that the C’s could flip for another superstar when the time comes for a star in on the trade block. A happy medium for the deal might end up being Mudiay and a second round pick for Smart if Danny Ainge is motivated to move on from Smart. It’s not a lock that Ainge moves Smart but it appears that he would move him if a first-round pick is on the table. For Boston, the deadline is very important considering the Cavs look as vulnerable as ever. Maybe Greg Monroe is that piece for Boston but maybe they need one more piece.