June 24, 2024

THE WEDDING PLANS were formulated some months beforehand. Long before the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals, only for the latter team to lose Game 7 at home. Long before the front office of the organization had to assess yet another unsatisfactory season that came agonizingly near to the franchise’s 18th NBA championship, but yet fell short. Long before it was ever considered, Marcus Smart, the team’s heart and soul and the past Defensive Player of the Year, could be traded.

Smart and Maisa Hallum planned to marry on September 16, 2014, at the upscale Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach, California. They wanted to be surrounded by friends and family, as well as the majority of the Celtics organization that had drafted him with the sixth overall pick in 2014 and helped shape him into the player and man he is today.

Marcus Smart got engaged after the Celtics won on Christmas

The location, on a hill with a view of the Pacific Ocean, was breathtaking. White flowers decorated the aisle and the gazebo, which were surrounded by lovely, well-kept grounds. The resort’s accommodations were villas and bungalows. The pool is a tribute to Rome’s Coliseum. The entire location exudes grandeur.

However, the entire dynamic had changed by the time the RSVP cards were due. Over the course of the seven-game Heat series, Boston had become weary and unable to handle Miami’s shifting defense and scorching 3-point shooting (43% in the series, 48% in their victories).

While Boston hadn’t been concerned about Smart, it had become imperative to get a big man who could move the floor and pose a threat to opponents in the post.

Thus, the scene that marked the end of Marcus Smart’s tenure with the Celtics also served as the beginning of his married life.

The Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum described the extravagant wedding to ESPN, adding, “It was kind of like saying goodbye right before the season started.” “It was quite difficult. I had attended one Finals game and four Conference Finals with Jaylen [Brown] and Smart. We have simply experienced so much together. It seemed as though the band was disbanding.”

Tatum, Grant Williams, and Brown attended the nuptials. Wyc Grousbeck, owner of the Celtics, was also. Brad Stevens, the president of basketball operations, and head coach Joe Mazzulla both made an appearance and created a fantastic stance in the photo booth.

People Magazine released pictures from the event, and they went viral fast, infuriating Boston fans who were still in shock after the incredible three-team trade on June 23 that sent Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies in return for center Kristaps Porzingis. The belief was that the move was done by a franchise that was becoming more and more focused on analytics in a cold, analytical manner.

Smart had established himself as the defensive anchor and captain of the Celtics’ locker room over the better part of the previous ten years. On the team, he was also Brown’s best friend. Although Porzingis’ trade was a risky one, Stevens and the Celtics felt the time was right.

Amidst the yearly discussions about splitting up the wing duo, and 25 days following their humiliating playoff defeat—the eighth of Brown-Tatum’s career—the Celtics made a dramatic shift from a player they had always thought they needed to one they had no idea they had.

“I’m a big believer that whatever a narrative is on someone when they’re 19 or 22 or even 24, you just kind of keep following them and just let them develop and let them grow,” Stevens stated to ESPN.

And much like a real estate developer eyeing a fixer-upper home, he saw what Porzingis could become given the right circumstances.

This was dangerous, he remarks. “But as [assistant coach] Jay Laranaga used to tell me, ‘If we’re not trying to improve, we’ll stop being good.'”

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