Marcus Smart

And-Ones: Vildoza, Las Vegas, Elite, Smart

Luca Vildoza announced on his Twitter feed that he underwent foot surgery and that he will continue to pursue his NBA dream (Twitter link).

The Knicks placed Vildoza on waivers on Oct. 3. New York signed the Argentinian guard to a four-year deal in May, but there was no guaranteed money beyond the 2020/21 season and he never played for the team.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Las Vegas is a possible destination if the NBA decides to expand, according to Mike Akers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (hat tip to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports). Commissioner Adam Silver made that statement at the CAA World Congress of Sports. “It’s on a list at the point that we do turn to expansion, which isn’t right now, but at some point, no doubt Vegas will be on the list,” Silver said.
  • Overtime Elite will begin its inaugural season on October 29, Jonathan Givony of ESPN writes. Overtime Elite – a developmental program comprised of 16-to-20-year-old prospects, many of whom were four- or five-star recruits – will be split into three teams. Those teams will also play each other as part of the OTE League Series.
  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been suspended for the team’s final preseason game on Friday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Smart missed the team’s flight to Orlando for its preseason game on Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Smart signed a four-year, $77.1MM extension in August.

Celtics Notes: Williams, Horford, Smart, Camp Battles

So far during the 2021 NBA offseason, five players have signed rookie scale extensions. Of those five, only Robert Williams signed for less than the maximum salary. While it’s uncommon for players to sign non-max extensions so far in advance of the season, Williams said this week that he didn’t want to wait until 2022 to sign his next contract.

“I told my agent before the season even started, when we started discussing contract extensions, I told him I wanted to stay,” Williams said, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. “I feel like we have a pretty good group here. A good group of coaches, a couple people I came in the league with here with (Marcus) Smart, (Jayson Tatum), (Jaylen Brown), we got Al (Horford) back. So we kinda know what it takes, we just gotta apply it.”

Even though Williams prioritized getting an extension done with the Celtics, it still took him some time to wrap his around the fact that he was able to complete a deal that locks him up through 2025/26 and guarantees him at least $48MM, Forsberg writes.

“Honestly, it was amazing, I went through three days of shock — feel like I’m still in shock,” Williams said. “Just a sense of — they trust me. When people put their trust in you, you gotta take it seriously.”

Let’s round up a few more Celtics notes…

  • Al Horford wouldn’t say this week that he regretted his decision to leave the Celtics for the Sixers during the 2019 offseason, but he did acknowledge that his time away from Boston made him better appreciate his time with the franchise, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Horford was thrilled to be sent back to the C’s in June. My family and I were all just jumping and screaming,” he said. “It was so exciting, because I know what kind of place this is. I didn’t want to be any other place but here. It’s taken me being away from here and having to go through what I went through to really realize that.”
  • Speaking to Jay King of The Athletic, Marcus Smart explained why he wasn’t surprised by Brad Stevens‘ decision to move on from his head coaching position and admitted that he strongly considered passing on the team’s extension offer in favor of reaching free agency. According to Smart, he believed he could potentially get $90MM+ in free agency, but opted for long-term security by accepting Boston’s four-year, $77MM offer. “I was actually willing to go straight into free agency and go to the market. But just talking to my circle, my family, my people and just understanding the pros versus the cons, the good versus the bad and things like that,” Smart said. “What are you willing to sacrifice? What are you willing to gain? So it was a business decision. Especially with the way everything’s going with COVID and everything, nothing’s for sure, nothing’s guaranteed.”
  • Ethan Fuller of outlines five Celtics roster and rotation battles to watch during training camp.

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Smart, Simmons, Flynn

James Harden, who is expected to discuss a contract extension with the Nets before the season begins, is changing representation, according to Jordan Schultz of ESPN (Twitter link).

As Schultz reports, Harden is parting ways with agents Jason Ranne and Chafie Fields of Wasserman, who had a hand in facilitating the trade that sent the All-Star guard to the Nets. Harden’s new agent will be his friend and business manager Lorenzo McCloud, according to Schultz, who says the NBPA will have a hand in Harden’s representation as well.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The trade kicker in Marcus Smart‘s new extension with the Celtics will be worth either $1MM or 15% of his remaining contract, whichever is lesser, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Based on the terms of Smart’s deal, $1MM should always be the lesser amount, so that’s the amount of the bonus he’d receive if he’s traded.
  • Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer takes a look at where things stand with Ben Simmons, suggesting that if the Sixers are willing to hang onto the All-Star guard through the offseason rather than trading him, it signals a belief in their culture and development program.
  • After spending his rookie season learning from veteran point guards Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, Raptors guard Malachi Flynn is prepared to take on a more significant role behind VanVleet in 2021/22, writes Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Flynn would be in line for an even bigger bump in minutes if Toronto ends up trading Goran Dragic.

Marcus Smart Signs Four-Year Extension With Celtics

AUGUST 21: The Celtics have officially signed Smart to his extension, the team announced today in a press release.

“There’s nowhere else I’d rather play and no other fans I’d rather play in front of. I love Boston, and Boston loves me,” Smart said in a statement. “We’ve had some great moments and success in my time here, but there’s more to accomplish. I’m ready to put that Celtics jersey back on and get to work out on the Parquet with my teammates.”

AUGUST 16: Longtime Celtics guard Marcus Smart will sign a four-year, $77.1MM contract extension with the team that drafted him, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Charania adds that the deal will include a trade kicker.

Smart’s new contract is fully guaranteed through 2025/26. There is no player option, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who notes that the new agreement will begin during the 2022/23 season.

Originally selected with the No. 6 pick in the 2014 draft out of Oklahoma State, Smart first re-signed with Boston on a four-year, $52MM deal that will take him through the 2021/22 season. A two-time All-Defensive Team selection, the 27-year-old guard has proved to be a valuable addition during seven playoff-bound NBA seasons with the Celtics.

The 6’3″ Smart, working mostly as a starter, averaged 13.1 PPG, 5.7 APG, 3.5 RPG and 0.5 BPG during the 2020/21 season. Beyond his raw numbers, Smart has shined as a wing and perimeter defender and operated as a vocal team leader.

Smart is earning $14,339,285 in 2021/22 and is eligible for a starting salary worth 120% of that amount on an in-season extension. The Celtics offered the maximum amount they could, so the new deal will start at $17,207,142 in ’22/23 and will feature 8% annual raises, for a total of $77,087,994.

The Celtics’ backcourt underwent two major transitions earlier during the 2021 offseason. Boston traded oft-injured former All-Star starting point guard Kemba Walker to the Thunder, then signed former starting Lakers point guard Dennis Schröder to a one-year, $5.89MM deal using the taxpayer mid-level exception.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Smart, Embiid, Madar

Marcus Smart‘s extension with the Celtics puts him at the intersection of being a franchise cornerstone and on the trade block, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

As Weiss observes, the timing of Smart’s deal – during Summer League as opposed to right before the regular season – points to the possibility of his inclusion in a superstar deal, as the usual moratorium on trading players off an extension has been changed from six to five months due to the shortened offeason. As a result, Smart will be trade-eligible before the 2022 deadline.

Weiss adds that the Celtics wouldn’t make this deal strictly for trade purposes, noting that it’s also an indication of their belief in the gritty guard and that Smart and new head coach Ime Udoka are a match made in heaven.

He has that edge and toughness about him,” Udoka said of Smart soon after being hired. “The things he brings to your team are the things you’d love every player to bring.”

Udoka also called Smart the heart and soul of the team. The four-year, $77.1MM extension is a bet that that’s still true even if he’s given the added responsibility of leading the team’s offense.

We have more news from the Celtics:

  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston has similar thoughts, writing that – rather than preventing the Celtics from adding another big name – the Smart extension actually opens up multiple pathways for a deal to be made. Forsberg adds that despite the Celtics signing Dennis Schroder, Smart should be considered the best bet to be the team’s starting point guard entering the season, and that much of the Celtics’ ceiling as a team will revolve around how the trio of Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown is able to function together with Smart at the helm.
  • Joel Embiid‘s super-max extension does more than just lock up the Sixers’ All-NBA center through 2027, writes Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice. It also sends a message of stability and desirability to stars around the league as president Daryl Morey continues to shop Ben Simmons and hunt for a second superstar to pair with Embiid. Neubeck adds there were rumors the Knicks hoped to pair Embiid and Damian Lillard once Embiid’s contract ended in 2023, which is now off the table.
  • Partizan Belgrade is “very close” to a deal with Celtics stash pick Yam Madar to a two-year deal, according to a MozzartSport report (hat tip to Sportando). The Serbian team would pay $250K for Madar’s buyout with current team Hapoel Tel Aviv. It was previously reported that Madar was likely to sign with Ratiopharm Ulm.

Eastern Notes: Smart, Jokubaitis, Magic Staff, Aldridge

The Celtics have offered Marcus Smart a four-year extension, longtime beat writer Mark Murphy tweets. The Celtics are awaiting a response from Smart’s agent, Jason Glushonworth, on an extension worth approximately $17MM annually, Murphy adds (Twitter link). The maximum possible extension the Celtics could give Smart would be worth around $77MM, Ryan McDonough of NBC Sports Boston tweets. The extension would kick in during the 2022/23 season. Smart has an expiring $14.33MM contract for next season.

We have more tidbits from the Eastern Conference:

  • The assumption that Rokas Jokubaitis was a draft-and-stash pick by the Knicks last month may not be entirely accurate. The Lithuanian guard, chosen with the No. 34 pick, hasn’t ruled out the possibility of playing in the NBA this season, Marc Berman of the New York Post tweets. It’s unclear whether New York is on board with that possibility or if the team prefers to stash Jokubaitis for at least a year.
  • The Magic have settled on a number of coaching hires to assist new coach Jamahl Mosley, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweetsNate Tibbetts, Jesse Mermuys, Dale Osbourne, Bret Brielmaier and Lionel Chalmers will join Mosley on the bench. The expected hires of Tibbetts and Osbourne were previously reported.
  • If LaMarcus Aldridge chooses to come out of his health-related retirement, the Bulls could be his destination. Both K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago and Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times report that there could be mutual interest between the club and the veteran big man (Twitter links). Aldridge would require team medical clearance from his heart-related issues in order to sign a contract and take the court again.

Free Agency Rumors: DeRozan, Smart, Dragic, Tucker

It appears that several teams remain interested in adding veteran free agent Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan, but are trying to gauge his market. Jordan Schultz of ESPN reports (Twitter link) that the Clippers would like to sign DeRozan, as would the Spurs if the price is right.

Schultz notes that there are other clubs interested in DeRozan, but – assuming he’s is not offered an overwhelming deal – the former four-time All-Star will take his time in determining a destination.

Here are more free agency rumors from around the NBA world:

  • With Lonzo Ball now headed to the Bulls in a sign-and-trade deal as a restricted free agent, another team that had been floated as a potential destination, the Celtics, will most likely not attempt to move on from guard Marcus Smart, tweets Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. Murphy adds (Twitter link) that Smart is hoping to earn a four-year, $80MM contract extension from Boston.
  • Veteran guard Goran Dragic , who is expected to be sent from the Heat to the Raptors in an upcoming sign-and-trade for veteran free agent point guard Kyle Lowry, is hoping to be rerouted to the Mavericks, per Michael Grange of Sportsnet (Twitter link). The details of a sign-and-trade agreement between Miami and Toronto have not yet been fully reported.
  • Now that the news has broken that newly-minted NBA champion P.J. Tucker will be joining the Heat rather than return to the Bucks in free agency, Sam Amick of The Athletic notes a big part of the reason was Milwaukee’s exorbitant projected tax bill if Tucker had returned. The Bucks appear hopeful to replace Tucker’s versatile defensive contributions by agreeing to a deal with former Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye.

Mannix’s Latest: Smart, Ball, Blazers, Simmons, Oladipo, Z. Collins

Celtics guard Marcus Smart is extension-eligible this offseason, but president of basketball operations Brad Stevens – who has coached Smart for the last several seasons – has been frustrated by his “unpredictable play,” sources tell Chris Mannix of

Two people familiar with the Celtics’ thinking tell Mannix that Smart appears more likely to be traded than extended before the start of the 2021/22 season. When Boston shopped Smart last season, the team sought multiple first-round picks, but one Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Mannix suggests the guard’s value is more along the lines of one first-rounder and possibly a rotational player.

Here’s more from Mannix:

  • Although re-signing Lonzo Ball doesn’t seem to be the Pelicans‘ top priority in free agency, several rival executives expect New Orleans to match any offer Ball receives if the club strikes out on its top free agent point guard targets, writes Mannix. That would allow the Pels to avoid losing Ball for nothing and would create the option of trading him down the road.
  • The Trail Blazers haven’t given any indications at this point that they intend to deal Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum, according to Mannix, who says forward Nicolas Batum is among the free agents on Portland’s radar.
  • The Sixers‘ asking price for Ben Simmons remains high. “Forget a Harden haul,” one exec in contact with the 76ers said to Mannix. “They want what Boston got for KG and Pierce.”
  • Mannix adds the Mavericks to the list of teams that are expected to show interest in point guard Dennis Schröder.
  • Teams are “increasingly wary” of Victor Oladipo‘s long-term health and multiple executives believe the two-time All-Star may go unsigned for a few months while he gets healthy following his latest quad tendon surgery, says Mannix.
  • Mannix believes the Thunder could be in the mix for Zach Collins, observing that the big man is the kind of low-risk/high-reward player that Sam Presti loves.

Celtics Rumors: Richardson Trade, Fournier, Thompson, Parker

The Celtics may have been quiet on draft night, but they’re making noise now. After agreeing to trade Tristan Thompson for the Hawks’ Kris Dunn and Bruno Fernando and sending Moses Brown to the Mavericks for Josh Richardson, the Celtics have given themselves some extra flexibility from both a financial and roster perspective, writes The Athletic’s Jared Weiss.

Evan Fournier‘s market seems to be in the range of $12-$20MM per year, according to Weiss, who points out that dealing for Richardson affords the Celtics the option of walking away if the bidding war gets too rich for them. It sounds like that’s a very realistic possibility, as Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald hears from a source that Boston is unwilling to meet Fournier’s asking price of $80MM over four years.

“It’s not looking good,” Murphy’s source said of the Celtics’ negotiations with Fournier.

Meanwhile, there’s no guarantee that the Celtics will hang onto Dunn, according to Weiss, who says the former lottery pick  could be flipped again. Weiss suggests that two viable options for dealing Dunn could be to the Cavaliers – along with one of the Celtics’ young players – in a deal for Larry Nance Jr., or to the Pelicans – with Marcus Smart – in a Lonzo Ball sign-and-trade.

We have more rumors on the Celtics:

  • According to Weiss, while Thompson was beloved by teammates, he butted heads with the coaching staff and the organization throughout the year and was widely expected to be moved this offseason.
  • In the same piece, Weiss cites The Athletic’s Danny Leroux, who explains that the Celtics now project to be about $4.36MM below the tax line if Jabari Parker (who has a non-guaranteed contract) is waived.
  • The Celtics wanted to send more guaranteed money to the Mavericks in the Josh Richardson deal, but Dallas initially didn’t want to take any money back, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Moses Brown was the compromise found, given the low guarantee on his deal ($500K).
  • Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets that the Celtics’ front office, especially Brad Stevens, has long been a fan of Richardson, who will be looking to get back on track in Boston after a down year in Dallas.

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, Smart, Knicks, O’Neil

The Nets have come to a crossroads with Spencer Dinwiddie, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post, and now they’ll have a decision to make. Fortunately, they have options.

One option would be to re-sign the 28-year-old guard, but between their depth at the position and Dinwiddie’s vocalized desire for either a big payday or a return to his home of Southern California, that may not be in the cards. Dinwiddie has been very open about the process.

If Brooklyn wants to use my Bird Rights and sign me, I’d be thankful to be back and be able to go and try to win,” he said. “And if not, then as an unrestricted free agent you can kinda choose where you wanna go. It’s an interesting situation to be in.”

If the Nets don’t re-sign him, there are two choices: let him walk, potentially across the bridge to the Knicks, who have the cap space to sign him, or try to sign-and-trade him to a destination of his choice, though it’s unlikely such a move would bring back equal value, Lewis writes.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg examines whether the Celtics should extend Marcus Smart this summer, in the wake of head coach Ime Udoka‘s comments referring to Smart as a “foundational piece.” Smart is the only starting-caliber guard currently on the Celtics’ roster, and is eligible for a four-year extension worth up to a maximum of $77.2MM.
  • The Knicks have struggled for years to match their ambitions in superstar-hunting with their ability to attract such talent. That may be changing, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. “I think having [head coach Tom] Thibodeau there will help the Knicks a great deal in free agency,’’ former Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “He has a great reputation connecting with players and, of course, winning.”
  • Scott O’Neil, CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the Sixers, has stepped down from his position after eight years, the team announced on Wednesday. “I would like to thank (Sixers owners) Josh Harris and David Blitzer for inspiring, engaging and empowering me to bring together the most talented executive team in sports and entertainment,” O’Neil said. “Josh and David are extraordinary leaders, partners and friends.” O’Neil is also selling his silent limited partnership, reports Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Inquirer.