Marcus Smart: I’m Worth More Than $12-14MM

In the wake of their Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Cavaliers, the Celtics will face a number of important roster decisions this offseason, with Marcus Smart‘s looming restricted free agency among the issues on the club’s docket. Asked about the possibility that the C’s might not be able – or willing – to pay $12-14MM per year to retain him, Smart told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan that price may actually be too low for him.

“To be honest, I’m worth more than $12-14 million,” Smart said. “Just for the things I do on the court that don’t show up on the stat sheet. You don’t find guys like that. I always leave everything on the court, every game. Tell me how many other players can say that.”

Smart, 24, has never been a reliable shooter or scorer since entering the NBA. His .367 FG% in 2017/18 matched a career high, and his .301 3PT% was only a little better than his career rate. Battling a thumb injury in the Eastern Finals, Smart shot .328/.226/.722 against Cleveland, including 1-for-10 in the decisive Game 7.

Still, Smart’s play on the defensive end of the court and his on-court leadership resulted in many of his teammates defending his 1-for-10 showing on Sunday night and calling him the heart of the Celtics, as MacMullan writes.

“That’s what people say,” Smart said. “I’m not sure if you can put a price on that.”

Since Smart will be a restricted free agent, the Celtics will be able to match any offer sheet he signs this summer, and there are no cap rules restricting what Boston can pay him. However, Smart and the C’s discussed an extension last fall and were too far apart in terms of dollar figures, sources tell MacMullan, so it will come down to how much the club is willing to invest in the former sixth overall pick.

The club is already on the hook for expensive deals for Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, with raises for key players like Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown coming down the road. Terry Rozier is also extension-eligible this offseason, and Boston seems unlikely to commit to long-term contracts for both Rozier and Smart.

Frank Urbina of HoopsHype examined potential landing spots for Smart if he leaves the Celtics, suggesting that teams like the Nets, Spurs, and Clippers could be fits.

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30 thoughts on “Marcus Smart: I’m Worth More Than $12-14MM

  1. yaniwox

    The broad side of a barn. Just hit the road side of a barn and a team can justify paying you. Half you’re “winning plays” come immediately before or after you royally screw up. Idk if you can put a price on that either.

  2. Did anyone watch him? He was so good. He needs to shoot enough to keep the floor open and, actually, he shot very well before that 1 for 10 showing. The Celtics had them on the ropes with that 1-5 p&r and then shot themselves out of it.
    LeBron is incredible. The rest of the Cavs were terrible. It’s BBQ Chicken for whoever comes out of the West…

      • Yes, I agree, but did you watch the series? His shot looked good and was falling the first couple of games – Jeff, Mark and Mike even commented on it!

  3. showty

    I agree with jbl gud player great defense worth keeping but the joggers players are just so freaking great they over shadow him

  4. GoldenJabs

    Smart is starting to sound a little like IT, and we all know how Danny handled IT….

  5. all in ad

    Agree with Jabs…IT and his Brinks truck….shipped out of town. Smart good role player….not a starter….paying him 12 kills salary cap. Back to Oklahoma…replace PG and sell some tickets.

  6. Connorsoxfan

    Jaylen, Smart extended at 14 per season, and a first for Kawhi? Or is that too low for him? I think the contracts might be close enough, but I haven’t looked at Kawhi’s exact $.

    • padam

      Rozier would have to be included in that as well, but all indications are Leonard will be signing that contract with the Spurs.

    • qt3dot14

      I’m not being antagonistic here. I’m just putting down the Celtic green goggles and asking common sense questions.

      If you were Smart, would you settle for 14 million? When Smart got hurt in the regular season, the Celt’s defense just went away. Smart is the heart and soul of this team. You played out of position to guard Lebron and came within a few three-pointers of being in the NBA finals by beating the King. And unlike an offensive based player, Smart’s skill set will absolutely transfer immediately to a new team. The man will garner at least 18 mil for a 4 or 5-year contract.

      Same with Brown. One more season on his trajectory and he’ll be worth at least 22 – 25 mil for the same 4 to 5-year contract.

      Seriously, if you were those guys, would you take less than Evan Turner received?

      Gordon Hayward got 30 million for three years and he was replaced and then statically matched in reference to his best regular season performance and surpassed in playoff advancement by a rookie making 1/6th of his salary.

      Smart, Brown, Rozier, and Tatum all got further this season than Hayward ever got in his career, and combined they make less than Danny paid Hayward.

      You watch Hayward get 30 million after never significantly advancing in the playoffs and then not being able to finish this season. You watch Evan Turner get 18 mil for one above average season and never be a playoff factor.

      If you were Smart, Rozier, and Brown, would you personally settle for 14 mil?

      You wouldn’t and neither are they.

      And why would the Celts even attempt to trade for Kawhi?

      With Hayward, Irving, and Kawhi, you would be virtually over the cap without signing any other players, all for players who between them, couldn’t get thru 60 of a possible 246 regular season games.

      Why would anyone give away the core of the YOUNG, TOUGH team that came within a couple of shots from the NBA finals, to put together a team of overpaid players who can’t even get on the court?

      Without Lebron, Irving’s winning percentage is lottery level. Without Lebron, Irving has never finished even one season healthy between college and pro.

      Surrounded and protected by the pure physicality of Lebron, Thompson, Love, and Smith, Irving has still only finished one season healthy.

      After Gordon’s brutal injury, the chance that Hayward can finish the next season thru the playoffs healthy and a be a playoff factor is at best 50/50.

      Who knows how badly Kawhi is injured. He obviously couldn’t perform this season. Good chance he won’t be able to perform at max contract level next season either.

      Why would you pay bloated salaries to a few players who couldn’t perform instead of paying the players who actually did make it happen?

      It makes no sense.

      Hayward, Irving, and Kawhi had no bearing on the Celt’s magical season. I didn’t tune into a single game because of any of them. They didn’t entertain me at all.

      In contrast, Tatum, Brown, Smart, Rozier, Horford, Baynes and Ojeleye played intensely compelling high-level entertaining basketball that kept me riveted to the TV screen till the very end.

      Mark it down right now, Smart and Rozier are gone. If they want to keep Tatum, then Brown is probably gone as well. Irving will not make it thru next season healthy, again. If Gordon survives the regular season next year, he will be spent for the playoffs and be no factor.

      I hope everyone here appreciates what they just witnessed this season because the Core Four of Smart, Rozier, Brown, and Tatum, in all likelihood, will never take the court together again.

      Again, I’m not being antagonistic. But if I’m Smart, Rozier, or Brown, (or their agent) after their performances this season, I’m not taking a third of someone who never took the court or two-thirds of a player who can’t finish a season healthy.

  7. all in ad

    PG is a phony/liar. 30 days before he stabbed pacers in the back….”I am a Pacers” at a public event. Joining the Fakers….Ball circus will be juicy. Good riddance….Pacers are more fun without selfish player “this is my team”.

    • x%sure

      Language lesson. “My” does not mean the same as “mine”. The Cavs are MY team, but they are not MINE. I point this out because dictionaries are wobbly about it for some reason.

    • padam

      Pretty much. The object of the game is the result at the end – who put the most points on the board. Smart contributes in many ways, but if you can’t shoot and/or score, you’re limited to a role that doesn’t pay – at least to his expectations. He’s $12M per in my opinion, but nothing more. Great motor, but limited ceiling.

  8. They’re about 14 mm under the tax line with 11 guys signed, NOT including Smart (RFA) or Baynes (UFA) or their 1st round pick. After next year they’ll be over for a while and by a bunch assuming KI re-ups, and with repeater penalties, I think overpaying him isn’t a good option.

  9. Connorsoxfan

    Once Kyrie and Hayward are back they’ll just roll to the ECF again to play their first meaningful basketball, and Smart would play 10-15 minutes at most. Not worth 14 million a year. He could help down the stretch during the regular season, but if they think they can get to the ECF without him, and they better think that, don’t resign him for more than 10 million a season and even that’s a little high.

    • qt3dot14

      Why the fascination with Kyrie and Hayward?

      Between college and pros, Kyrie has only finished one season healthy. Without Lebron, Kyrie’s winning percentage is lottery level. Kyrie has done nothing without Lebron. Without Kyrie, Lebron is again in the Finals.

      Hayward is the same. He’s never gotten anywhere in the playoffs.

      Not only have they not done anything of note, except for Kyrie riding Lebron’s coattails, they couldn’t even finish the regular season healthy.

      In contrast, Smart, Rozier, Brown, and Tatum, not only got further than Kyrie ever got without Lebron, they came within a couple of three-pointers from dethroning the King. And that’s with no athletic big man.

      With even just an average athletic big man to offset Tristan Thompson, the Celts roll thru the Finals as the champs. Not trading for Boogie Cousins last season has now cost the Celt’s back-to-back championships.

      Why is everyone so enamored by players who have never done anything and couldn’t even get on the court vs. the players who actually got the job done? I just don’t understand.

  10. Smart is a good role player, but not a star I think 12-14MM are way too much, I think he is very good at 7-8MM I think is a very good offer & he should be happy, if not bye bye. I think all the teams should stop overpaying for players, that way they would realize their real value, otherwise we will always have the awful contracts like Noah, Mozgov, Deng…

  11. canajay12

    Smart needs to know his role. He’s a player any team would love but he needs stars and scorers around him to be successful he’s never going to be part of a big three or anything.

    Look what happened to IT and even Avery Bradley. Guys who looked to be great players in Boston and then come back to earth elsewhere. He needs to accept a reasonable offer and enjoy the ride with these Celtics for the next 5 years.


    He maybe be worth it on most other teams but not the Celtics. He’s gotta learn that if he wants a ring

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