What is going on with Marcus Smart?

Smart and the Celtics seem content with waiting on new deal
The Boston Celtics have had a pretty mundane offseason so far. They stayed pat at No. 27 in the NBA Draft and came away with Robert Williams. The Celtics have also re-signed Aron Baynes to a multi-year deal and extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Marcus Smart. Boston's roster is all but finalized for the 2018-19 season and they're essentially just waiting on Smart.

Keith Smith reported earlier this week that the Celtics and Smart had some positive talks on a new deal but that neither side was in a big rush.
However, it seems like a wrench was sort of thrown into the situation after Dante Exum got a huge contract from the Utah Jazz in exchange for subpar and inconsistent production. Exum received a three-year deal for $33 million, more money than Fred VanVleet and Joe Harris.

Smart voiced how he thought he was worth more than $14 million per season shortly after Boston was dispatched from the playoffs. He gained a little more negotiating room with Utah's splurge on Exum.

Then, things got murkier when Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reported that Smart hadn't heard from the Celtics since the start of free agency.
Murphy's report directly contradicted Smith's report from earlier this week. And then the situation got even stranger.
Former Boston assistant coach Walter McCarty got in the action, seemingly calling out Murphy's sources.

For now, this is a pretty confusing situation. It doesn't seem like anyone really knows what's going on with Smart. The versatile defender doesn't seem too focused on his next contract right now with his mother battling cancer.
The deal will most likely get done one way or another. With the Celtics extending a qualifying offer to Smart, the former Oklahoma State guard can accept the offer for a one-year deal and become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Or, Smart and the C's could agree to a multi-year deal, likely two-three years.

Around the league, cap space is beginning to dry back up. The Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks both have the space to offer Smart a deal but both teams are in rebuilding mode and his abilities likely won't be enough to justify his cost on a team that won't be in the playoffs.

Neither side has any reason to rush, Boston knows they can match just about any deal Smart is offered while Smart's side can also wait out to see if they'll get a big deal thrown at them from a desperate team. Patience is now the name of the game but all signs are pointing to Smart remaining a Celtic.

Photo via Brian Babineau/Getty Images

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