It doesn’t sound like Marcus Smart will sign an extension with the Boston Celtics before the regular-season deadline.
It also doesn’t sound like he has any intention of leaving Beantown.
From ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg:
While league sources indicate the Celtics are interested in an extension, Smart confirmed a Yahoo! Sports report Monday that suggested that neither he nor his agent have received a formal offer from the team yet.
“Me and my agent haven’t heard anything from the Celtics,” said Smart, who pointed out how other players from his draft class have inked big-money extensions. “You’re seeing everybody else’s numbers and things like that, so we’re just kind of waiting.”
Despite the lack of talks, Smart said his preference is to be in Boston into the distant future.
“I would love to be here long term. I hope I’m here long term,” said Smart. “I love the organization, I love the fans, I love everything the Celtics are about.”
Smart has become exponentially more important to the Celtics following their offseason overhaul. Not only is he now the longest-tenured member of the team, but he’s the only proven option they have to throw on opposing point guards when Kyrie Irving isn’t up to the task.
Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder pitched in on that front when Isaiah Thomas was around. Both of them are now gone. Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris and Gordon Hayward are extremely switchy, but sticking them on opposing floor generals isn’t a foolproof strategy. There will be matchups none of them can handle.
Enter Smart, who in addition to picking up backcourt assignments has also shown he can defend small forwards and even some power forwards. Truth told, with Crowder gone, he is now their most important defender—the switchiest of the Celtics’ switch-heavy model.
How much the Celtics will ultimately value that is unclear. He’s still an erratic three-point shooter on his best nights, Boston has Terry Rozier, and the team needs to worry about paying Kyrie Irving when he enters free agency in 2019. No matter how important Smart actually is, if the Celtics get a breakout campaign from Jaylen Brown and decide he’s just as suitable to play the Smart role on defense, they could end up passing on a long-term investment. Or maybe they won’t.
After all, given what happened over the summer, we can’t pretend to know who the Celtics value most, or what in the actual heck they’ll end up doing.