Known for his relentless defense and sometimes irrational offensive bravado, Marcus Smart has been a crucial element for the Boston Celtics as they have gone from 40 wins in his rookie season to 55 wins and one game away from the NBA Finals last season. But now, as the clock ticks on his restricted free agency, Smart isn’t feeling the love from Boston.
A source who spoke with Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald said that the Celtics haven’t even reached out to Smart about a contract since free agency began on July 1, and that Smart sees it as an insult. From Murphy:
According to someone close to the Smart camp, who requested anonymity to comment on the situation, the Celts guard is frustrated with the lack of outreach from his team.
“He loves the Celtics, but with these crickets he’s hearing, he’s hurt and disgusted by it,” said the source
Though fellow 2014 lottery alumnus Dante Exum signed an eye-opening three-year, $33 million contract with Utah, for the most part the market has been bearish for restricted free agents.
However, limited prospects aren’t the main issue behind Smart’s disillusionment.
“I don’t think that bothers Marcus as much as no communication from Danny (Ainge),” said the source.
Reached Thursday, Ainge, the Celts president of basketball operations, declined comment.
The source added that Smart thought he would have at least gotten an offer for a three- or four-year deal from the Celtics at this juncture in free agency, and that he hasn’t spoken to Boston since a few days before the period started. The source also said that Smart is willing to take a one-year deal from the Celtics, but “that doesn’t bode well for the Celtics if it comes down to that.”
This is certainly a lot of anger coming from the Smart camp, but this is sometimes how free agency goes. The Celtics have shown themselves to be shrewd when it comes to player decisions (trading Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn and, more recently, trading an injured Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland in the final year of his contract). They have the right to match any offer that comes Smart’s way, but they have no obligation to offer Smart anything until they have to.
If Smart doesn’t get any other offers, he’d likely have to accept the one-year, $6 million qualifying offer from the Celtics. Smart has already estimated his worth at about $15 million per year, so it’s safe to assume he’d take that as another insult, and would be reluctant to re-sign with Boston next summer.
All of this could be worked out soon and it would be water under the bridge, but as of right now, it appears Smart isn’t happy with the Boston Celtics.