“Boston, you are a very special place to me”

Marcus Smart’s time with the Boston Celtics may be over, but he still loves the city and the fanbase. Smart sent a touching farewell note to the Celtics on Friday, a day after being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Smart thanked fans for their support and said Boston is still “a very special place for meHe said that although the team did not win their 18th championship, he was very proud of what they had achieved over the past nine seasons.

Smart’s full message was as follows:

“Where do I even start…as I begin to think about the past 9 years, I have a lot of emotions running through me. I came to Boston as a naive kid from Dallas not knowing really what to expect. All I knew was the type of work ethic my mom instilled in me and I was going to work my ass off and make sure I EARNED the respect of every one of the fans in Boston. That’s why it was tuff. Boston, you are a very special place to me. I grew up here and met some of my best friends here. I will never forget my time here. In the end we didn’t get that 18th banner but I’m VERY VERY proud of the success we’ve had I’m going to miss so many things about Boston but mainly my teammates and my fans and my kids and our charity work at the hospital.

“It’s been 9 great years in Boston, thank you for all the love…but now it’s time to look forward.

“I can’t wait to get to Memphis and get started. We’ve got something special brewing here! I’m lucky to be part of the Grizzly Nation. Let’s get to work.”

Smart was initially selected by the Celtics with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He immediately showed his worth, making the All-Rookie team in his first season. Smart excelled as a defensive mainstay in Boston, making the All-Defense team three times and winning Defensive Player of the Year in the 2021-22 NBA season.

In nine seasons with the Celtics, Smart averaged 10.6 points, 4.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. The team made the playoffs in each of Smart’s nine seasons, advancing to the NBA Finals in the 2021-22 season. Boston lost that series to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

Marcus Smart looking to prove himself in Memphis after trade

After falling to the surprising Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals in June, Boston decided it was time to make changes to its core. The team traded Smart to the Grizzlies on Thursday as part of a three-way deal. The Celtics received Kristaps Porzingis from the Washington Wizards as part of the deal. Porzingis will be tasked with getting Boston over their playoff hump and finally winning another championship.

Smart will head to the Grizzlies with high expectations. With star Ja Morant out for the first 25 games next season, Smart will have plenty of opportunities to prove himself early.

The Grizzlies finished as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference last season. If Morant is able to stay on the field and Smart locks in opposition scorers, Memphis could once again make noise in a crowded West.

Marcus Smart has thanked Celtics fans for their support over the past nine seasons.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Marcus Smart has thanked Celtics fans for their support over the past nine seasons. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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