Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Literally. Marcus Smart is learning that the hard way this offseason.
According to reports, Smart will likely sign the Celtics' qualifying offer of $6.1 million after not receiving better offers elsewhere as a restricted free agent.
Report: Marcus Smart leaning toward accepting Celtics’ qualifying offer https://t.co/ZUFtxs0R4y— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) July 9, 2018
The offseason began with serious questions surrounding the marriage between Smart and Boston. It was always clear that Smart expected to be paid somewhere in the vicinity of $15-17 million for his services, but the Celtics never had intentions of going that high and paying the luxury tax.
Boston and Smart have reportedly not been in contact with each other as Boston was expecting to match any offer sheet Smart received, but Smart hasn't gotten sufficient interest from other teams. Apparently there isn't a ton of interest in guards who play like they have the perpetual green light on offense despite shooting less than 30 percent from three for their career.
Signing the Celtics' qualifying offer means Smart will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season at the same time that point guards Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier also come off Boston's books.
New: Latest on Marcus Smart situation. A source close to Smart says he’s “over it” & prepared to sign qualifying offer if it comes to it. But league sources say the Cs’ fondness for Smart has not waned, and that Ainge will mend personal fences if needed: https://t.co/aFBYOa9FGb— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) July 7, 2018
It seems likely that Irving heads elsewhere next offseason so Boston may find themselves with enough room to re-sign Rozier while still giving Smart the money he desires next year. In order for that to happen, Smart would have to get over the frustration he has with the organization.
Danny Ainge has repeatedly shown an uncanny ability to pull off the impossible, so don't be shocked if Smart is happier than ever playing at a discount this year.