Danny Ainge says Marcus Smart is Celtics’ top priority
Through the first several days since the start of free agency, the Boston Celtics haven’t made significant movement to further stabilize their roster. So far, they haven’t done much to reach a new deal with restricted free agent guard Marcus Smart.
However, general manager Danny Ainge made it a point to single out that Smart is the team’s “top priority” this offseason to get another contract worked out with him, according to Brian Robb of The Boston Sports Journal.
Ainge on free agency: “Marcus is our top priority.”
— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) July 11, 2018
Smart has become a key piece of the puzzle off the bench for the Celtics over his first four seasons in the league with the team, which was only further emphasized this past season in the playoffs as he helped provide a stabilizing factor in the backcourt. The 24-year-old has developed into a steady option behind his strong individual defense along with his playmaking ability as a ball handler.
Smart is coming off another productive campaign, averaging 10.2 points along with 4.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in 29.9 minutes per contest in 54 games played. In his 11 starts this past season, he averaged 11.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.7 steals in 33.8 minutes per game. His consistent production is an essential part of what the Celtics have built as a potential title contender.
The lack of true movement from the Celtics may lie on the fact that he is a restricted free agent, which gives them the opportunity to match any offer sheet he receives from another team. This may come from the Brooklyn Nets, as their general manage Sean Marks was seen chatting to Smart and his agent on Monday night in Las Vegas at the summer league. It may simply be a matter of time before a new deal is worked out to keep him for the long haul in Boston.