In the past two offseasons, the Boston Celtics have been one team willing to make big moves. In 2016, they added unrestricted free-agent big man Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks and last summer, they plucked Gordon Hayward from the Utah Jazzin free agency. Boston hasn’t made a splash this summer and has yet to re-sign guard Marcus Smart, who is a restricted free agent.
Smart is one of the few “name” players yet to reach a deal in free agency and, per Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald, he is reportedly upset about the lack of talks with the Celtics. Someone close to the Smart camp, who requested anonymity from the newspaper in speaking about Smart’s situation, told Murphy that Smart isn’t upset about the limited offers he has received.
For Smart, it seems to be more about what Boston has not done so far in free agency:
“He loves the Celtics, but with these crickets he’s hearing, he’s hurt and disgusted by it,” said the source.
“I don’t think that bothers Marcus as much as no communication from Danny (Ainge),” said the source.
Reached Thursday, Ainge, the Celts president of basketball operations, declined comment.
“He would have thought there would have been some kind of three- to four-year deal from them to show they’re interested,” said the source. “But the qualifying offer is the only one he has received, and there’s been no talk since free agency opened. He’s most disappointed that there has been no reaching out from their end.
“He’s just hurt and frustrated that Danny hasn’t reached out. That’s the most discouraging part of this whole thing. The last contact was a few days before free agency started.”
Smart was one of several players to receive a qualifying offer on June 29, just before free agency opened. However, if he doesn’t get an offer from elsewhere or a bigger deal from Boston, he will enter unrestricted free agency next summer. According to the source who spoke to the Boston Herald, Smart seems to have made his peace with that option, too.
“If that’s the indication the Celtics are giving him — a one-year deal –— then absolutely, yes, he’s prepared for it,” said the source. “And that doesn’t bode well for the Celtics if it comes down to that.”
Teammates reached out to Smart, showing support and expressing hope he gets the contract he deserves.
“It’s like Isaiah (Thomas) last year, Marcus has played through injury,” the source said. “He pushed himself to return early (from thumb surgery) in the playoffs, taking the gamble that he was healed enough to play. He pours his heart out every day for that team. He’s been hurt and quite frankly disgusted by how this has gone. But you know what else? He’s kind of over it. You have to move on.”
Smart had surgery on March 16 to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and returned in Game 5 of the Celtics’ first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks. He averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 29.9 minutes per game last season. In the playoffs, he averaged 9.8 ppg, 5.3 apg, 3.7 rpg and 29.9 mpg, appearing in 15 games (and starting four).
* * *