The Celtics had all kinds of leverage over Marcus Smart at their disposal in free agent negotiations this month, but in the end, they decided not to use it. The two sides agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal last week to ensure the Celtics had one of the deepest backcourts in the league next year.
On the surface, the Celtics deal looks like a bit of an overpay, given the market circumstances. Boston was essentially bidding against themselves on Smart last week once most potential suitors with cap room came off the board. The Celtics eventually softened their negotiating stance and offered a little bit more than Smart turned down in the fall, according to a league source. That was enough to seal the deal in a tough market.
“He wanted to get a deal that he felt was reasonable,” Smart’s agent Happy Walters told Bostonsportsjournal.com last week. “I think it’s a good contract for both parties. It’s certainly a tradeable contract if it ever needs to be. Hopefully, it won’t be. Marcus feels really good about it and is excited. Danny and Wyc made the extra effort to get it done and go into the tax. I think everyone appreciates it.”
While the Celtics have let a number of their restricted free agents walk away to other teams, such as Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, over the past couple seasons for various reasons, Smart’s new four-year deal sharply resembles another guard that was re-signed under similar circumstances this decade.