It’s still unclear when or if Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart will be able to return from a thumb injury he suffered last Sunday against Indiana.
Both head coach Brad Stevens and GM Danny Ainge have suggested that the young guard could be done for the year. If that’s the case, that could also mean Smart has played his last game ever in a Celtics uniform.
SMART UPDATE: Brad Stevens says Marcus Smart will have 2nd opinion to see if he could play rest of season “without further injury”. Says Cs are about to find out a lot about themselves pic.twitter.com/fBOirBxuRu
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) March 14, 2018
Smart will be a restricted free agent this summer and Sporting News NBA writer Sean Deveney, doesn’t “think there is a future [for Smart] with the C’s.”
Deveney joined host Adam Kaufman on the Celtics Beat podcast on CLNS Media. The longtime NBA analyst believes that Ainge is unlikely to invest a lot of money in Smart long-term.
“I think that the way that Danny seems to operate is to get these draft picks and the idea is bring them in, coach them up and develop them for four years and get that cheap deal,” says Deveney. “You’re on the rookie scale contract so that allows to do other things in terms of free agency because you’re paying the guy relatively nothing. And when you get to the end of the four-year deal, unless the guy is a superstar, you don’t pay him.”
While Smart has been an invaluable piece of the Celtics’ success with his trademark defense and propensity for “winning plays,” a superstar he is not.
“We’ve seen this with Danny, he’s cold,” Deveney told Kaufman. “You get to where you have to make these decisions and you put your heart over here and your brain over there, and he goes with the brain.
“And I think that’s how this plays out. I don’t know that paying Smart the kind of money that he might get from a team like a Dallas or an Indiana, that it’s going to be something that Danny wants to do. Because it’s the kind of thing that hamstrings you going forward.”
It will be very difficult for the Celtics to keep Smart, while having to deal with a slew of expiring contracts; Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier’s current deals are up in two years. In addition, Aron Baynes’ and Shane Larkin’s contracts expire after this season. Deveney thinks that Smart is likely to suffer the same fate that Kelly Olynyk did this past offseason, where the Celtics like the player but just can’t pay them market value.
However, there is still a slight possibility that Smart returns. It would take, as Deveney mentioned on Celtics Beat, the rest of the NBA under-valuing the player.
“If he (Smart) goes out and gets a three-year, $24 million offer and that’s the best he can do that might change things,” says Deveney. “But I think his deal is probably going to be closer to the $12 million a year range. And at that I don’t think the Celtics are going to be in the position to match a contract like that.”
Full details available on this edition of the Celtics Beat !
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