In a team that features the likes of Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and what should have been Gordon Hayward, had it not been for his season-ending injury in the first game of the 2017-18 NBA season, Marcus Smart has been an unsung hero of sorts for the Boston Celtics. While not the team’s best offensive player, his defense helped the team go all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals in this year’s playoffs. All that points to a player whom any team should be planning to re-sign during free agency, but if the latest rumors are accurate, the Celtics haven’t tendered an offer for the young combo guard, and Smart is getting fed up with waiting for one.
In a report published Thursday on the Boston Herald, Mark Murphy wrote that Marcus Smart and his camp have yet to be contacted by the Celtics for negotiations on a new contract. Murphy also cited a source close to Smart and his people, who said that the former Oklahoma State standout is “frustrated” with the alleged “lack of outreach” from Celtics management.
“He loves the Celtics, but with these crickets he’s hearing, he’s hurt and disgusted by it,” the source commented.
“I don’t think that bothers Marcus as much as no communication from [Celtics general manager/president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge].”
According to the Boston Herald, the only “tangible” bid the Celtics have put for Marcus Smart is the $6.05 million qualifying offer that allows Boston to retain matching rights. However, the publication’s source stressed that Smart might be feeling insulted by the lack of action beyond the qualifying offer, considering how the 24-year-old guard sees himself as worth a three- to four-year contract that would pay him about $14 million to $15 million a year.
“The qualifying offer is the only one he has received, and there’s been no talk since free agency opened. He’s most disappointed that there has been no reaching out from their end.”
In addition to the lack of substantial contract negotiations, the Boston Herald’s source alleged that Marcus Smart is further “hurt and disgusted” because he feels the Boston Celtics don’t value his contributions and sacrifices. These include coming back early from thumb surgery in this year’s playoffs, and his general mindset of giving his 100 percent for his team. The source also maintained that Smart isn’t bothered by the fact that the Utah Jazz re-signed his fellow restricted free agent, Dante Exum, to a three-year deal worth $33 million despite his well-documented injury problems.
Despite the supposed lack of contact with the Boston Celtics regarding a new deal for the 2018-19 season and beyond, Marcus Smart might have to accept the one-year, $6 million qualifying offer if no other team shows interest, according to CBS Sports. The publication, however, predicted that Smart, who averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game in 2017-18, might continue taking this as an insult and elect to sign with another team in the 2019 offseason.