Marcus Smart has been a key piece for the Boston Celtics over the past few years, but the franchise is in danger of losing him in free agency this offseason. While the two sides are very open to getting a new deal done, there is some doubt that Danny Ainge will be willing to give Smart the kind of contract that he wants.
As free agency continues to draw closer, rumors are beginning to come out about potential landing spots for Smart. Three teams have been connected to him at this point in time.
According to a report from Chris Mannix of Yahoo! Sports, the Sacramento Kings, Denver Nuggets, and Indiana Pacers are all expected to have interest in Smart. All three teams can create enough money to give him the deal that he is looking for this offseason.
Smart put together another solid season for the Celtics in 2017-18. He has never lived up to the major hype that surrounded him coming out of Oklahoma State in the 2014 NBA Draft when he was the No. 6 overall pick. This season, Smart averaged 10.2 points per game to go along with 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebound.
At 24 years old, Smart is without question capable of helping all three of the rumored teams make a deep playoff run. Indiana is coming off of a season that saw them push LeBron James to seven games in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Smart would fit in perfectly to the hard-nosed defensive approach that the Pacers focus on.Sacramento is an intriguing landing spot for Smart. They may be young, but they are building the right way and also hold the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft. Adding a talent like Smart could help mentor the young players, while also fitting into the long-term goals that the Kings have set.
Denver is just a piece or two away from contending in the Western Conference. Smart would add much-needed defense to the Nuggets' lineup and would add a lot of experience as well. If the Nuggets want to move forward in the West, they will need to get aggressive with guys like Smart.
All of that being said, Smart is going to have plenty of options this offseason. He might end up returning to Boston, but these three teams are currently expected to come calling for him.
Expect to hear more teams show interest in Smart once free agency arrives, but for now, a small market is beginning to form for him.