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If I ever saw an NBA team and a player that need each other, it is the Boston Celtics and wolverine-in-basketball-attire, Marcus Smart.

Marcus is currently a restricted free agent awaiting lucrative offers from other teams, and those thus far seem to be in short supply. Smart has based his monetary worth on what he supplies on the court, and Danny Ainge has chosen to let the current market dictate the proper amount and length of any contract. It has come down to somewhat of a stalemate, but tensions between the two sides may be easing.

Smart can sign the 6.1 million qualifying offer extended by the Celtics, which comes with an automatic no-trade clause. This won't happen quickly since he has nothing to lose by waiting for other offers.


Accepting the one-year qualifying offer would make Marcus an unrestricted free agent after this season, allowing him to sign with another team without Boston having the opportunity to match. Here's the catch. Smart's fit with Boston may be the best for him. Even other team's worry about signing Celtics players because of what I call The Brad Factor.

In my own words, The Brad Factor is the sense, real or imagined, that coach Brad Stevens elicits the very best out of his players which will never be duplicated if they go to another team. There is also the reality that Marcus may very well not be a player that can be a major kingpin on a weaker team. He needs to play with a strong contender. This how the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett sees the situation:

For Smart, his earning power in this moment is also hindered by the fact he is more valuable to very good teams that need his defensive grit and hustle and can absorb his shooting issues (36.7 percent last season, 36.0 in his four-year career; and 30.1, 29.3 on 3-pointers, respectively). But those very good teams have little money to spend on such a player.

The Celtics need to lock up Marcus fairly soon, and he needs to understand that Danny values him highly. Ainge is not about to let a stellar defensive ace leave the fold as was the case with Tony Allen. The best decisions usually rest between the two extremes, in this case being the 6.1 million qualifying offer and the 15-plus million sought by Marcus and his agent.

I have cited the reasons for a deal to be done in the near future, and there is one more. Marcus' mother, Camellia, is suffering from cancer, and although I have no idea on her thoughts about Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics, I would think that she may want to see her son back with a team, staff and fandom that appreciate and adore what he does for Boston. And it would certainly help her state of mind to see him once again doing his wolverine act deep in the playoffs and possibly helping his team to a Championship. Let's face it. He sets the tone for the Celtics. They need him. And he needs them.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Nicolaus Czarnecki/Boston Herald

Tom Lane 7/07/2018 07:25:00 AM Edit
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