Almost two weeks since the 2018 NBA free agency started, Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart is yet to get a new contract. With his future in Boston remains uncertain, several NBA teams have already expressed strong interest in adding him to their team. These include the Sacramento Kings, Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, and the Chicago Bulls.
However, since Marcus Smart is a restricted free agent, the Celtics only need to match any offer just to bring him back. Smart has been a huge part of the Celtics’ success in the last four years. Last season, Smart, together with the Celtics’ young players and veterans, helped Boston reach the Eastern Conference finals despite losing superstars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
Smart may not have an impressive statistics like other NBA superstars, but his teammate, Jaylen Brown, believes the veteran point guard’s contribution to the Celtics is “second to none.” Despite the rumors about Smart’s frustration with the team, Brown is confident he will still see Smart wearing a Celtics’ jersey next season.
“Marcus, what he brings to the table is second to none,” Jaylen Brown told reporters Thursday, as reported by Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “The analytics, all of that, throw that away. What Marcus adds to a team and a franchise, everybody knows. I think (president of basketball operations Danny Ainge) knows that. And I feel like something will come and the best situation will happen for both parties. But I would love to play this next year with Marcus Smart, and I feel like everybody feels the same way.”
As of now, the Celtics might be wanting to see what other NBA teams are willing to offer to Marcus Smart. After the season officially ended for the Celtics, they have immediately discussed a contract extension with Smart. Unfortunately, both parties failed to reach an agreement because of the huge difference between the Celtics’ offer and Smart’s demand. The former sixth overall pick is reportedly demanding a huge payday which is worth $12-14 million per year.
With most NBA teams already near the luxury tax line, it is highly unlikely that Smart can get what he thinks he deserves. According to Keith Smith of RealGM, the Kings and the Bulls are the only NBA teams who could create salary cap space to give Smart an offer sheet of more than $4-5 million in the first-year salary in which the Celtics can easily match.