Marcus Smart is reportedly ‘close’ to signing the $6.1 million qualifying offer extended to him by the Celtics at the start of free agency. A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston broke the news Monday morning:
“While no deal is imminent, two NBA officials whose teams have had some level of interest in Marcus Smart are getting a strong sense that he will sign the $6.1 million qualifying offer made by the Celtics and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019.”
In light of recent reports of Smart picking up interest from other teams, it is assumed that any offer extended to the free agent would be matched by the Celtics. This knowledge has left teams hesitant on making a move. This doesn’t stop teams from making offers just to spike Smart’s contract through 2019, which is a very real threat.
Value of Getting Smart to Sign Qualifying Offer
Getting Smart to sign the offer will come as a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, the $6 million owed to Smart through the 2019 season will be well under the 24 year-old’s desired $14 million he outwardly sought at season’s end. The deal would keep the team out of the luxury tax through next year, something the franchise desperately needs to avoid for as long as possible given their long-term outlook.
On the other hand Marcus Smart would become an unrestricted free agent next summer and could leave the team with nothing to show for it. With some of the team’s big names (Irving/Rozier) set to hit the open market next year, it could be risky to add Smart to the mix.
That being said, despite recent reports that Smart is “disgusted” with the way the team has handled his free agency, he has been evidently happy in Boston during his first four years in the league. The team has to feel confident in their chances to retain Smart after next season.
Smart wants to be in Boston long-term. The team wants him back. How much money it will ultimately take to make it happen appears to be the only question mark left.
Photo: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer