Marcus Smart thanked departing Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and his successor Brad Stevens via Instagram on Thursday.
In his post, Smart noted that the Celtics’ season was so grueling, it felt like two seasons. He added that playing in front of a packed TD Garden crowd in Game 4 was “amazing.”
“I want to thank the best fans in the world for continuing to support us,” Smart wrote. “Next I want to thank Danny Ainge for believing in me and drafting me 7 years ago. You have always had my back and I really appreciate it. Can’t wait for u to cheat ur score against me on the golf course! U deserve it!
“Lastly I want to thank the entire coaching staff and everyone behind the scenes who helps make this all possible. Coach Stevens, well now President Stevens-thank you! Can’t wait to continue this journey. Looking forward to next season already!”
Smart was drafted by Ainge in 2014 and is now the longest-tenured member of the Celtics roster. He was the first lottery pick to join the roster after Stevens took over as coach for Doc Rivers in 2013.
Stevens and Smart have a good relationship, despite a few hiccups. Perhaps most notably, Smart and Stevens on the court clashed over officiating in 2019 when Smart could be seen yelling at Stevens to say something to officials.
Afterward, however, Stevens gave a quote that has resonated with Celtics fans ever since.
“This is the part about Marcus that I love,” Stevens said at the time. “His fire, his competitiveness. If there’s a moment where he’s upset with us, that’s all part of it. …
“We’ve been together a long time. I’ve been yelled at before and that’s ok. I love him and I trust him.”
Smart has one season remaining on a four year, $52 million deal.