Early free agency deals could have an impact on what Marcus Smart decided to do with the Boston Celtics
NBA free agency has been off to a fast start, and a lot of teams are quickly filling up their rosters and spending any available money. The Boston Celtics acted quickly with both Brad Wanamaker and Aron Baynes, but are still waiting on their biggest decision with Marcus Smart.
It was always going to be difficult to gauge how much the Celtics would be willing to pay Smart, but now that we have seen some of the contracts, we can try to figure out what might be going trough the minds of those involved.
When you try to compared Smart’s potential contract to other contracts given out, it really is all over the place. You have Rajon Rondo and Fred VanVleet making $9 million next season, Trevor Ariza making $15 million next season and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope making $12 million next season.
You can probably look to any of these contracts are come up with a different number that Smart would comparatively deserve. In the end, however, the longer Smart waits, the harder it will be for him to get a massive contract, and the more likely the Celtics are to keep him.
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Keep in mind, with the state of free agency right now, and the potential for a cap increase next season, signing the qualifying offer and trying again next offseason is still a legitimate possibility.
Smart will definitely still have suitors, but he is quickly running out. You can look at Orlando and the Pacers as the biggest threats right now, but the fact that Smart still has not signed anywhere either means he is in intense negotiations with the Celtics, or just has not found a contract that is good enough to pry him away from Boston.
You can speculate on the price tags all you want, but the longer this process takes, the more likely it feels that the Celtics will bring Smart back. The Celtics have also not made another move, so Smart is clearly the only decision they still have to make.
The Celtics and Smart have always wanted to work things out, and the fact that there have not been the kind of contracts that players like Evan Turner or Timofey Mozgov got in the past, is a strong indication that the Celtics can get him at an appropriate price.
If he signs the qualifying offer, then the Celtics will surely avoid the luxury tax, and keep open more options for the future. That opens the door for Smart to make more money down the line, while making sure the Celtics are not tied to a bad contract.
The Celtics, however, would probably rather pay him a bit more so they can lock him down on solid value for a few years to come. Smart could definitely be the kind of player to bet on himself, but there is also the reality that the Celtics have to pay Terry Rozier next season, and he all he does is sign the qualifying offer, the Celtics might be willing to spend even less money on him next season.
Smart was always going to be the one major decision the Celtics needed to make, and so far there are no indications that they will not work things out. You always want it to get done quicker but as more time passes the less options there are for Smart, and the more leverage the Celtics gain in any contract negotiations.