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Shams Charania: Sources: Marcus Smart’s agent and Boston remained fully engaged before extension deadline. No deal, couldn’t bridge the gap.
Steve Kyler: Marcus Smart’s camp had a number in mind. Celtics got close but they feel like he is primed for a real offer sheet in July if he progresses
Jay King: Ainge on Smart extension: “We have had some conversations, but we haven’t really got into negotiating. But we’ve had conversation.”
Despite the lack of talks, Smart said his preference is to be in Boston into the distant future. “I would love to be here long term. I hope I’m here long term,” said Smart. “I love the organization, I love the fans, I love everything the Celtics are about.”
For Boston, an extension might ultimately hinge on what the market sets for Smart’s value. It seems unlikely Boston would be willing to pay Smart the sort of money Gary Harris got from the Denver Nuggets (4 years, $84 million), but there’s a more palpable number for a Celtics team that’s set to live above the cap for the foreseeable future. Staring at an eventual climb back into the luxury tax (and, further out, repeater penalties), the Celtics must still be responsible with their spending, especially considering that many rivals won’t have much to spend on the open market this summer.
But some league sources believe rival teams could be tempted to throw a big offer sheet at Smart in hopes that the Celtics — whose roster is set to grow plenty expensive over the coming years — would either decline to match it or be forced to pay top dollar, both in salary and future luxury taxes, to keep the 23-year-old long term.
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February 19, 2018 | 7:18 pm EST Update
Ian Begley: Knicks are one of several teams to express interest in Troy Williams, per league sources. Williams is expected to make a decision on his next destination soon. The 23-year-old 6-7 wing was waived by Houston to make room for Joe Johnson. NYK has an open roster spot at the moment.
Possibly damaging the Lakers’ “King James” dreams is the franchise playing its own role in making the Cavaliers’ roster more attractive. The Lakers recently traded two of their young talents to Cleveland – easy-scoring guard Jordan Clarkson and high-flying forward Larry Nance Jr. Cleveland acquired a veteran point guard in George Hill who complements James well with his 3-point shooting, ability to be effective without the ball and defense, and also added a talented, athletic and young scorer in Rodney Hood, who could start for a lot of teams.
The new-look Cavaliers sans an injured Kevin Love are 2-0 since the moves and fun to watch again. The Lakers have the ability to sign two major free agents this summer, but the Clippers don’t have that ability until 2019. Trading ex-Clippers star Blake Griffin just months after he signed a five-year contract has to be curious to a prospective free agent as well.“I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays in Cleveland now,” one high-ranking Eastern Conference team executive said. “The Cavaliers put a really good team around him. The Cavaliers have made it really tough for him to decide to leave Cleveland again. The Lakers might have helped them keep LeBron.”
February 19, 2018 | 5:31 pm EST Update
Josh Lewenberg: With the buyout market expected to heat up in the next 10 days and the Raptors still intending to fill their vacant 15th roster spot, one guy to keep an eye on is Orlando’s Arron Afflalo.