Danny Ainge addresses Marcus Smart’s uncertain future in Boston
After a bitter Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference Finals to end the Boston Celtics’ great 2017-18 season, offseason moves await yet again. One of Boston’s best role players, Marcus Smart, will be on the market as a free agent with his upside higher than ever.
Smart will be a restricted free agent this summer, meaning the Celtics must match any offer sheet another team gives to Smart. Celtics president of basketball operations and general manager Danny Ainge understands the services of Smart will be in high demand, and remains hopeful he will stay in Boston.
“We need Marcus. Marcus is a good player,” Ainge said this week on Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub. “He provides a lot of energy for our team and I hope that we can work something out going forward.
“I think that everybody is replaceable. If there was ever a situation with a team where guys would know that, it would be this team that just went through what we went through this year. We’re all replaceable, and we’ll be able to move on and move forward without any players. Nobody is irreplaceable, but Marcus certainly is a player that has been big for us over the last few years.”
From the words of Smart himself, it looks like he will approach this offseason from a business standpoint. Smart believes he is “worth more than $12-14 million” and wants to get paid this offseason. Despite this position, Smart has also said he wants to remain in Boston for the foreseeable future.
Smart, who had to deal with some difficult family issues during the season, averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game despite shooting a rough 37% from the field. Smart has been key for the Celtics off the bench, especially in these playoffs. During his injury absence this season, the Celtics’ defensive rating fell from first to ninth in the NBA during that span.