Marcus Smart and the Boston Celtics may be able to find common ground, after all.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Smart’s agent, Happy Walters, are “seriously” engaged in contract negotiations involving the restricted free agent guard, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday, citing sources. Ainge and Walters are discussing a potential four-year deal in the total range of $46 to $50 million, or $11.5 to $12.5 million annually, according to Wojnarowski, who noted talks are ongoing.
The Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy also spoke to a source within Smart’s camp who confirmed the sides were talking but added there’s “still a ways to go.”
All things considered, this is a positive development for Smart, who said earlier this year he’s seeking a contract in the $12 to $14 million annual range. The Celtics offered Smart a one-year, $6 million qualifying offer, and while the 24-year-old guard likely is worth more than that, he still hasn’t received a competitive offer sheet from another club in what has been a tough market for free agents. Inking a deal close to his desired range to stay with a championship contender that best maximizes his abilities would seem to be a prudent move for Smart and his agent.
That there’s even dialogue between Smart and the Celtics also is good news. Previous reports suggested the two sides had little to no communication, and that Smart was “disgusted” with how Boston had approached his restricted free agency.
It appears the ball is rolling on negotiations now, though, and unless another team is willing to pony up serious cash for a career 36 percent shooter, we could see Smart in Celtic green for the next few seasons.
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