The Celtics would be willing to trade guard Marcus Smart for a first-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. On his latest podcast, Wojnarowski says Boston wouldn’t mind moving Smart as long as it doesn’t have to take on much future salary in return.
Smart will be a restricted free agent this summer after he and the Celtics failed to reach an agreement on a rookie contract extension. Woj speculates that the financial uncertainty, coupled with Smart’s difficulties from 3-point range, where he is shooting 30% this season, may make him expendable.
Boston has financial concerns for next season with more than $104MM in committed salaries against a projected $101MM cap. That’s without considering Smart, who will be seeking a substantial raise from this year’s salary of about $4.5MM and could push the team toward luxury tax territory.
Appearing on the same broadcast, ESPN’s Bobby Marks warns that other organizations may be wary of giving up a first-rounder for Smart without knowing how much it will take to re-sign him. Such a move would put someone in the difficult position of having to commit financially to keep Smart or losing a first-round pick for about two months of having him on the roster.
Marks speculates that Smart could have commanded an annual salary of $13MM to $14MM in the summer of 2016, but under current conditions his offers are more likely to be in the $8MM to $10MM range.
Before a recent hand laceration, Smart was averaging 10.1 points and 4.7 assists through 46 games, mostly in a reserve role. He is expected to return sometime in mid-February.