The Boston Celtics have been very aggressive in the past offseasons trying to acquire superstars whom they believe could help them return to the NBA Finals and win an NBA championship title. Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, and Gordon Hayward were some of the products of the Celtics’ hardships in the last two years.
As of now, the Celtics remain focused on improving their current roster. In the past months, rumors continue to swirl that Boston could target LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the free agency market and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs via trade. However, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston, Boston’s offseason plan this year will be more “internal” and they will prioritize re-signing their own incoming free agents Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes.
“The Celtics have built their success upon the need to have versatile, multi-faceted players with a certain edge about them defensively. Marcus Smart, who will become a restricted free agent next week, assuming Boston makes him a qualifying offer, is that kind of player. Aron Baynes, who emerged as a tower of defensive power for Boston this past season, provided a level of toughness in the frontcourt we had not seen in a Brad Stevens-coached team. Re-signing those two players will be a priority for the Celtics this offseason.”
— CelticsBlog (@celticsblog) June 27, 2018
In the case of Aron Baynes who will become an unrestricted free agent, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston revealed in a separate report that the Celtics plan to sign him to a multiyear deal. The Celtics’ decision to give him a long-term deal isn’t surprising. The 31-year-old has been impressive in his first season in Boston, giving them the much-needed help on the defensive end of the floor. In an exit interview, Baynes expressed his desire to return to Boston for another season, and the Celtics have reportedly been clear about their intentions of bringing him back.
Unlike Aron Baynes, the situation of Marcus Smart will be different since he is expected to become a restricted free agent. After the season officially ended for the Celtics, they immediately negotiated with Smart regarding an extension, but the 24-year-old guard is reportedly demanding more than what Boston is willing to give. After giving him a qualifying offer, the Celtics only need to match the offer sheet from other NBA teams in order to bring Smart back.
Marcus Smart will become a restricted free agent July 1. Most assume he's chasing $12M-$14M per year.
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) June 26, 2018
However, it is highly unlikely that the Celtics will spend a huge chunk of their salary cap space for Marcus Smart. According to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports, other NBA teams who are expected to go after Smart this offseason are the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, and the Indiana Pacers.