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Marcus Smart is finally in the Celtics fold - for now - there I go again. His contract calls for 52 million over a four-year period.

That is more than double the 6.1 million qualifying offer originally presented by the Celtics, and somewhat more than many expected. Like Avery Bradley's 8 million/year deal with Boston in 2014, it seems high at the time but may prove to be a bargain if he becomes a better and more-consistent shooter.

There is another aspect to the contract that some may miss. Mid-range deals like Smart's can have real value as a trade chip. Boston did not have that mid-range contract player last season.

After Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and Kyrie Irving, the salaries drop to the 5 million area and below. No player had a figure in the 10-15 million range.

Danny Ainge is an opportunist, and he should be. I doubt at the moment he has any idea of trading Marcus. That can always change. For the sake of discussion, if Boston chose to trade Smart, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier and Guerschon Yabusele, the salaries total roughly 24 million, thereby allowing the Celtics to match salaries for a single player earning close to that number (Anthony Davis comes to mind at 25 million).


Boston had no such opportunity before without giving up Irving, Hayward or Horford. That has changed. Danny Ainge didn't have to break the bank or back up the Brinks truck to sign Marcus, and the 4-year deal almost certainly means no no-trade clause. There would have been such a clause if Smart took the qualifying offer.

It seems everyone wins with this signing. If Marcus becomes a better shooter, this could be a bargain. Smart stays with the team of his choice, and this is where he fits best. But his contract can now be used if Danny sees an enticing trade prospect, and if Smart goes to the right team, he may get to start and have even more playing time. Ainge covered all the basis with this deal.

Follow Tom at TomLaneHC

Photo via Charles Krupa/AP photo

Tom Lane 7/20/2018 11:52:00 AM Edit
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