The Boston Celtics could have potentially missed out on Marcus Smart, a former restricted free agent with a price tag high enough to put the team waist-deep into the luxury tax. But even if he wanted Smart back, Jayson Tatum never pressured his teammate into coming back, letting it happen on its own.

The possibility of Smart leaving the Celtics was a real one, as the tough-minded defensive ace wanted more than the $12-16 million annual price tag he was bound to command in free agency.

“Anything’s possible in the NBA, but I knew we wanted him and I knew he wants to be a Celtic, and it’s where he belongs,” Tatum told Bill Simmons of The Ringer. “I can’t see Smart in any other uniform right now.”

Asked if he ever reached out to ask him to stay, Tatum noted he just let the process take its usual nature.

“Nah, I didn’t wanna pressure him,” said Tatum. “But he knew that I wanted him to stay, and everyone on the team, we need him.”

Smart would eventually return with a four-year, $52 million deal, which paid him more than the lower end of his valuation at $13 million per year.

The Oklahoma State product is one of the most instinctual defensive players at his position, with the ability to shift the momentum of games that are in the balance. While his shooting is still a question, his ability to lock down a player, make plays, and his ever-running motor will be aspects Tatum can count on moving forward into the 2018-19 season.