Kendrick Perkins says Celtics should move on from Marcus Smart

Perkins has previously questioned the leadership and discipline of Smart, who has one year left on his contract with the Celtics.

Marcus Smart walks off the court after the Celtics' loss to the Miami Heat Tuesday night. Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Regardless of how this season ends, something has to change for the Celtics by the time the 2021-22 schedule rolls around later this year.

Though some believe it’s time to move on from coach Brad Stevens — who has also been linked to other jobs — veteran NBA reporter Jackie MacMullin has said Stevens is far more likely to remain with the Celtics next year than depart.

Former Celtic and current ESPN personality Kendrick Perkins agreed with that notion when asked about his old team’s situation on NBC Sports Boston on Tuesday.

But he did have one major suggestion for starting next season with a fresher slate — one that involves cutting ties with a longtime fan-favorite.

“I think something drastic needs to happen, and it’s not firing Brad Stevens,” he said. “I think that Marcus Smart has ran his course. I think guys are tired of hearing his voice in the locker room. I think guys are tired of his ill-advised shot-taking at times, some of his turnovers that he has.”

Smart is in the midst of a trying year for the Celtics, missing 21 games due to a calf injury and failing to regain his usual elite defensive form. His defensive rating this year (114) is the worst mark he’s posted in his career by far.

He also earned a suspension for a postgame spat with a referee that resurfaced old discussions about his “antics” on the court.


Perkins has previously called out Smart for his perceived lack of leadership and unpredictable nature and reiterated those thoughts on Tuesday, saying the veteran guard needs to get back to what he’s good at.

“If Marcus Smart could be just a star in his role, and that means bringing that defensive intensity, diving on the floor for loose balls, those hustle plays on the other end, not trying to do so much,” the former Celtics center said. “You can see it in people’s body language, when he tries to do too much it deflates the team.”

Smart could be pressed into a larger role with Jaylen Brown now out for the season with a torn ligament in his wrist and the Celtics set to battle for a postseason berth in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.

Beyond these next few games, though, the seven-year Celtics mainstay’s future is up in the air. He only has one year left on his current deal with the Celtics, making him a possible trade candidate in the offseason or before next year’s trade deadline.

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