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Danny Ainge remains mum on Marcus Smart’s contract extension

Heading into this upcoming season, one of the underlying stories around the Boston Celtics is centered around the contract situation regarding fourth-year guard Marcus Smart.

The 23-year-old is set to enter the final year of his four-year, $14.8 million rookie contract that also includes a $6 million qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent next summer. According to Jay King of MassLive.com, Danny Ainge acknowledged that he has held contract discussions with Smart.

Although Marcus Smart hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations of a first-round pick in his first three seasons, he has developed into a stout individual defender and consistent contributor for the Celtics coming off the bench. He is coming off his most productive season where he averaged a career-high 10.6 points along with 1.6 steals per game.

Smart is eligible for an extension on his rookie deal prior to the start of the regular season opener on Oct. 17 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics now have less than a week to decide if they believe that the former 2014 first-round pick is worth inking to a new deal or potentially run the risk of him raising that asking price to a higher bar following this upcoming campaign.

There is certainly mutual interest on both sides to get a deal done, however, the ball is essentially in Boston’s court to make that decision on the current longest-tenured player on the roster.