Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens really wants his team to re-sign Marcus Smart.
And who could blame him?
Smart, while far from the greatest shooter the NBA has ever seen, really is the heart of the Celtics. His hounding defense, nose for the ball and unwavering competitiveness were imperative in Boston’s run to the Eastern Conference finals.
So, with Smart set to become a restricted free agent, does Stevens feel he needs to sell the 24-year-old guard’s value to Celtics general manager Danny Ainge?
“You don’t have to do that with Danny,” Stevens recently told the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy. “Danny likes Marcus a lot. We all believe in everything he brings to the table. His competitive spirit is contagious, infectious.
“That’s hard to quantify and it’s hard for people to realize when you go down a list of statistics. This might be a great example of how do you measure that, right? Those certain intangibles you can’t even put into words — you have to see it, and you kind of have to feel it.”
While Steven knows there’s a chance Smart signs elsewhere (at least three teams reportedly are interested), he certainly seems confident in Boston’s chances to re-sign its 2014 first-round pick.
“Everybody in the building would tell you we would love to have Marcus back,” Stevens told Murphy. “Marcus has been great here — a big part of our DNA when you look at what we want to bring to the table competitively every night. He makes guys better on both ends of the floor, he covers up for guys on defense. As high a level defender entering the league as I’ve ever seen.
“He’s going to keep getting better, and you want guys like that around. We’ll see how it all plays itself out.”
NBA free agency doesn’t start until July, but, at this point, it would be a surprise if the Celtics didn’t re-sign Smart.
Still, there’s always the chance another team offers more money than Boston is willing to match, and Smart himself believes he’s worth top dollar.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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