After losing in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, rumors and speculations started to swirl around Marcus Smart and his impending free agency. As a restricted free agent, the Boston Celtics could just match any offer from other teams just to bring Smart back. According to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, both parties have already discussed an extension, but the money that Smart is demanding was “too far apart” from what the Celtics are only willing to offer.
Marcus Smart insists that he’s “worth more than $12-14 million,” and added that the things he contributed on the court don’t show up on the stat sheet. Several NBA teams who are in dire need of a backcourt boost could take advantage of the ongoing situation in Boston. According to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype, one of the teams who could pursue Smart in free agency is the San Antonio Spurs.
“Sometimes, a player’s fit with a team just makes too much sense. That’s the case with Smart and the San Antonio Spurs. A lock-down defender who can aptly guard three positions, and one considered a clutch performer late in games, Smart would assimilate wonderfully in the culture bred by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.”
To give Marcus Smart a decent offer, the Spurs will need to renounce their rights to incoming free agent Tony Parker. The French point guard undeniably played a huge part in the Spurs’ past success, but no one can deny the fact that he’s already past his prime and at the end of his career. With their goal to become a significant team again next season, the Spurs should decide to let Parker go.
Renouncing their rights to Tony Parker will allow the Spurs to give Marcus Smart a three-year, $40 million offer sheet, with a player option on the third year. The Celtics are unlikely to use a huge chunk of their salary cap space just to bring Smart back, knowing they still have Terry Rozier and Shane Larkin to back up Kyrie Irving next season.
If the Spurs succeed in signing Smart, he could replace Danny Green as San Antonio’s starting shooting guard. Green is expected to exercise his 2018 player option to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Smart may not be a deadly shooter like Green, but as Urbina noted, Spurs assistant Chip Engelland could help him improve his shooting like he did to All-Star Kawhi Leonard. Successfully developing Smart’s three-point shooting will undeniably make him one of the best two-way players in the league, which could tremendously help the Spurs in returning to title contention next season.