The Boston Celtics have made it clear they want Marcus Smart back for the 2018-19 season, and Paul Pierce believes the sides indeed will continue their relationship a little longer.
Smart, drafted sixth overall by Boston in 2014, is a restricted free agent, casting some uncertainty over his long-term future. It’s been a tough offseason for free agents of Smart’s caliber, though, as very few NBA teams have the cap space to afford sizable expenditures at this time. Next offseason could be more eventful in that regard.
Pierce, appearing Tuesday on ESPN’s “The Jump,” said he expects Smart to return to Boston for a fifth season in Green. This could mean accepting the Celtics’ qualifying offer, which would pay the 24-year-old about $6 million for the 2018-19 campaign.
Smart’s free agency is fascinating in large because many of his contributions are difficult to quantify. He’s a hard-nosed, gritty defender with a knack for making meaningful plays, but his impact often doesn’t show up on the stat sheet and it’s obviously difficult to put a price on intangibles.
Either way, the C’s don’t want to lose a big piece of their identity as they prepare to enter a season in which they’re widely considered the favorites to reach the NBA Finals out of the Eastern Conference.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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