Re: Smart. He's seeking a max extension (approximately four years, $80 million; same money the team doesn't want to pay Evan Fournier), and still faces a tough negotiation. Celtics are targeting 2022 free agency.
Mark Murphy is the first reporter to give us a number of what Marcus Smart is seeking, and it's actually less than I thought. During this season I speculated he'd end up with closer to $25 million per, but I guess his down year (in comparison to the prior season) had an impact. It's a pretty the Celtics are so dead set on not signing any multi year contracts this offseason in order to maintain cap for the future, since I could see a compromise being made here.
If Murphy's number is correct and Smart is seeking $80 million for four years, a deal for a compromise at like $68 million seems reachable. That would be $17 mil per instead of the asking price of $20 mil per, but there's a security benefit for Smart to sign now. An injury could always happen. Just ask Victor Oladipo.
Barring an injury I don't doubt that at least one team will meet Smart's asking price next summer, just like the Knicks met Evan Fournier's tonight. Guys get paid in free agency. Gordon Hayward and Al Horford both shocked the Boston sports writers and declined their final seasons on their Boston deal. Both secured new lucrative long term deals elsewhere.
Honestly if you're a big Smart fan the news of this $20 mil per asking price should give you some encouragement in terms of Marcus sticking around in Boston. Stevens isn't going to sign any long term deals that aren't team friendly, so easily moveable. If Boston decides not to trade Smart this offseason, and the two teams can find a compromise deal, there is potential for an extension to be signed before this season.
Now here's the rub, and why fans need to be careful about getting on players about loyalty. Both players and teams know it's a business. If Boston decides to sign Smart to a 3 or 4 year extension past 2021-22, it will only be because they've determined that the contract is tradable. Whether that be in a deal for Bradley Beal or to clear cap space to sign the Wizards guard. So an extension between the Celtics and Smart doesn't mean he'll be a Celtic forever as many fans wish. But it would certainly increase the odds he stays. And if Stevens and the Celtics can figure out a way to add a third star and/or build a contender without having to sacrifice Smart as the asset or his contract, he could be a part of that contender.
Besides both parties willing to compromise on a deal there also is the factor of how much does Stevens value Marcus as a championship piece. If Brad has soured on Smart, then who knows if the Celtics even attempt to counter Smart's asking price in a negotiation. That's the next thing we need to find out. Of course Stevens and Udoka will say all the right things publicly, but privately does Stevens value Smart as a core piece moving forward or not?