Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart is still awaiting his payday in free agency. The lack of progress on a new deal with the Celtics has been upsetting to Smart, according to those close to him. After his brief interaction with Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge yesterday, Smart said he he doesn't know what his future is with the Celtics.
Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reports that Ainge spotted Smart at last night's NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas between the Celtics and Charlotte Hornets at Cox Pavillion. Ainge walked down the aisle behind Smart and playfully twisted around the baseball cap Smart was wearing. Smart initially did not know who had done that to him and when he saw it was Ainge, the two briefly smiled before Ainge kept moving down the aisle and left the gym.
Himmelsbach has more on what followed from that point on:
It is believed to be their first interaction during this somewhat uncomfortable process, and while it was hardly a contract negotiation, it was something. A source close to Smart told the Globe on Friday that Smart was hurt by the Celtics’ lack of communication with him during this process.
On Monday, about 30 minutes after crossing paths with Ainge, Smart had a brief interview with the Globe and The Athletic as he walked from the Nuggets/Bucks game to watch the Suns face the Magic in an adjacent arena. When asked where things stood with the Celtics, Smart responded: “That’s what I want to know. I have no clue. I can only control what I can control.”
When Smart was asked about whether there were indications that an offer sheet from another team could be coming, he said that he believed he would find out soon.
When he was asked if he was optimistic that he will receive a big offer, he responded simply, “I don’t know.”
Smart was then asked whether he hopes that this situation would be resolved quickly.
“I do,” he said. “But I can control what I can control.”
Smart was one of several players to receive a qualifying offer on June 29, just before free agency opened. However, if he doesn't get an offer from elsewhere or a bigger deal from Boston, he will enter unrestricted free agency next summer.
Said Celtics coach Brad Stevens yesterday: "I saw him a couple days before free agency. He was in town for his camp. I saw him over at the new practice facility. I’ve talked to him a bunch. I’m not involved in all the negotiation part of it and all the numbers part of it, and he knows that. He also knows we really want him back. So I know our front office has worked hard to be communicative, and go from there.”
Via Twitter, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBCSportsBoston.com reports the Sacramento Kings are readying an offer sheet for Smart:
Source: After striking out on Zach Levine, the Sacramento Kings are preparing to put together an offer #Celtics Marcus Smart.
Smart had surgery on March 16 to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and returned in Game 5 of the Celtics' first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks. He averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 29.9 minutes per game last season. In the playoffs, he averaged 9.8 ppg, 5.3 apg, 3.7 rpg and 29.9 mpg, appearing in 15 games (and starting four).
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