A. Sherrod Blakely: Press conference for #Celtics Marcus Smart slated for later today after signing his 4-year, $52M deal, has been postponed. Team says he is experiencing “stomach flu-like symptoms” and is receiving IV fluids at New England Baptist hospital.
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Brian Robb: Celtics announce the Marcus Smart deal is official.
Fred Katz: Marcus Smart has likely incentives in his contract worth $500k a season, per a source with knowledge of the deal.
Jared Weiss: Marcus Smart’s deal is fully guaranteed for all four years with no options and will follow the standard 8% raise structure starting at around $11.6 million, a league source tells The Athletic.
Mark Murphy: Kenny Boren, Smart’s high school coach, on relief from new deal: “You have no idea. It’s been a tough summer with free agency and his mom’s (cancer), It’s been tough emotionally for him.”
Shams Charnia: Restricted free agent Marcus Smart has agreed to a four-year, $52M deal to return to the Boston Celtics, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Mark Murphy: Source: Smart and Celtics agree to four-year deal for $52 million.
Mark Murphy: Source says Danny Ainge and Happy Walters are meeting tiday in Boston.
Jordan Schultz: Source: #Celtics are finalizing a deal w/RFA Marcus Smart in the range of $48-52M over four years. #Boston loves Smart/believes he plays an integral role in its success. The Celtics are currently at a $115M payroll for next season – their threshold before entering tax is $123M.
Adam Himmelsbach: According to a league source, talks between Marcus Smart and the Celtics are “getting close” and “going in the right direction,” and the hope is that a deal could be finalized within a week. Seems the Celtics have made their latest offer and Smart and his camp are considering it.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Celtics GM Danny Ainge and Happy Walters, the agent for restricted free agent guard Marcus Smart, are now seriously engaged in contract talks, league sources tell ESPN. Potential deal range is in the four-year, $46M-$50M range, sources tell ESPN. Talks ongoing.
Jay King: Jaylen Brown believes it’s important to bring Marcus Smart back: “Marcus, what he brings to the table is second-to-none. The analytics, all of that, throw that away. What Marcus adds to a team and a franchise, everybody knows.”
Jay King: More Jaylen Brown on Marcus Smart: “You can’t really get too emotional about it. It’s a business. A lot of guys get caught up because they get their heart stuck in the mix of it, but at the end of the day it’s business. So I would love to have Marcus on the team.”
Brian Robb: Jaylen on Marcus Smart: He makes my job much easier on defense.
The Marcus Smart situation could be resolved tomorrow. The Celtics could step in with a multi-year deal that suits their restricted free agent guard, or another club could make him an offer that is beyond the current market value. But don’t count on it. Sources indicate this may drag on for quite a while. Smart determined his worth to be more than what is out there in this summer’s market, and the Celts are in no rush to bid against themselves.
But those roster issues are down the road, beyond what is expected to be a serious run for this season’s title. Closer, but still down the calendar’s path, is the need to resolve Smart’s 2018-19 employment. A source indicated that if nothing gets settled this week, the sides could take a break after Vegas and revisit things later.
“There’s guys that we’re looking (at),” Ainge said Wednesday while the Celtics summer league practiced at Palo Verde High School west of the Vegas strip. “We’re all here watching all the teams play in the summer league, watching different guys work out. But our priority remains the same. Our priority is still Marcus in free agency, and that’s where we are.”
Jordan Schultz: Source: Several teams – inc the #Grizzlies and #Nets – have inquired about a S-T w/the #Celtics for RFA Marcus Smart, who has already met with Brooklyn. Source also says that Boston has had zero communication or contact w/Smart.
Jay King: Danny Ainge just said Marcus Smart remains the Celtics’ priority in free agency.
Smart’s desire to be compensated at fair value remains strong in light of some of the contracts handed out to other players in his draft class, with Exum’s deal particularly eye-opening, considering the Utah guard’s injury-dominated career. “The fans should understand that Marcus is not asking for a crazy amount,” said Walters.
Jordan Schultz: League source: The #Kings have no interest in #Celtics’ RFA Marcus Smart.
Free agent guard Marcus Smart met with two NBA teams here on Monday and is scheduled to meet with two more on Tuesday, according to a league source. The group includes teams from both conferences, the source said.
There have been conflicting reports about how much Smart and his camp are hoping for on the open market, but a source familiar with the negotiations said the guard is open to signing a multiyear deal for less than $15 million per season.
Jason Jones: A source says there’s nothing to report of interest in Marcus Smart. Side note: I could see Dave Joerger loving an addition like Smart. Tough player, makes winning plays
A. Sherrod Blakely: Source: After striking out on Zach Levine, the Sacramento Kings are preparing to put together an offer #Celtics Marcus Smart.
While no deal is imminent, two NBA officials whose teams have had some level of interest in Marcus Smart are getting a strong sense that he will sign the $6.1 million qualifying offer made by the Celtics and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019.
His restricted free agent status has been the main reason why teams have been reluctant to give Smart an offer sheet, fearful that the Celtics will match it, according to one official. Recent reports indicate Smart has not been pleased by the lack of reaching out by the Celtics to get a deal done.
A source close to Smart said Friday that the 24-year-old guard is hurt by the Celtics’ lack of communication during free agency, and that he is “over it’’ and prepared to ultimately sign a one-year qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next season if it comes to it. But league sources said the Celtics’ perceived lack of interest in contacting Smart was not indicative of any change in their view of the talented young guard. The Celtics and Smart’s camp remained apart on contract discussions, so the Celtics were essentially waiting for Smart to have talks with other teams and potentially sign an offer sheet that they would then almost certainly match. If this is a standoff, league sources said, the Celtics certainly do not view it that way.
One source said the Celtics did not reach out to Smart’s camp at any point during the first five days of free agency. The source said some players have reached out to let Smart know they want him back, but the source did not know of anyone else inside the organization making contact.
With the way the landscape has unfolded, Smart could ultimately decide to sign his one-year qualifying offer of $6.1 million, a league source said. The source said Smart is “not afraid” to bet on himself, believing that a strong season could set him up for a bigger payday one year from now from another team. Though the storm of one-year contracts this summer will set up a crowded market in July of 2019, the prospect of becoming an unrestricted free agent has some appeal.
A source close to Smart said Friday that the 24-year-old guard is hurt by the Celtics’ lack of communication during free agency, and that he is “over it” and prepared to ultimately sign a one-year qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next season if it comes to it.
One league source said there is significant interest in Smart around the NBA at a price tag closer to $9 million annually, in line with the mid-level exception, but Smart has no plans at this point to entertain such offers. Multiple sources said that it appears increasingly likely that unless Smart significantly lowers his asking price — which no one expects the guard to do — he will ultimately accept the one-year, $6 million qualifying offer he received from the Celtics and then become an unrestricted free agent after next year.
The source close to Smart said that as it stands, there is a “95 percent chance” that Smart will not re-sign a multi-year deal with the Celtics this summer, because he feels the franchise has turned its back on him in recent weeks. Of course, such thoughts can change suddenly, and they might not even matter, as Boston will be able to match any offer sheet Smart signs with another team.
Though the NBA marketplace has overflowed with activity since the opening of free agency on July 1, Marcus Smart and his negotiating team are still waiting for their first call from the Celtics.
And according to someone close to the Smart camp, who requested anonymity to comment on the situation, the Celts guard is frustrated with the lack of outreach from his team. “He loves the Celtics, but with these crickets he’s hearing, he’s hurt and disgusted by it,” said the source.
Smart is still waiting for that call, now with a thought that he may indeed have to plan on unrestricted free agency next summer when NBA teams are expected to once again be flush with money. “If that’s the indication the Celtics are giving him — a one-year deal –— then absolutely, yes, he’s prepared for it,” said the source. “And that doesn’t bode well for the Celtics if it comes down to that.”
Q: You’ve said you would like to see Aron Baynes and Marcus Smart return. If they leave, what are the most irreplaceable qualities those guys brought to the team? Brad STEVENS: We want them back for a number of reasons. Their energy is contagious, and it’s contagious every day. I tell the story all the time about (how) Aron Baynes races people in warmups. And he just brings an infectiousness that I can’t describe. And I think, like, my thoughts of this team are him and Marcus running down the court flying as everybody’s supposed to be doing high knees and warming up. Marcus has been like that for the last four years in everything that he’s done. So I think it’s their infectiousness. And I think with that comes a real reliability that is consistently shown on both ends of the court and certainly their prep. But on the court they do a lot of things that lead to winning — some that show up in a box score and many others that don’t.
An NBA source tells DallasBasketball.com that depending on Smart’s asking price, the Mavs can be expected to explore pursuing the 6-4 guard, a defense-first battler who scores 10 points per game for a Celtics team that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Gary Washburn: Marcus Smart, having endured much adversity in his life, put restricted free agency in perspective: “I’m 24 years old, the first one in my family to graduate from college and we’re sitting here talking about possible teams that’s going to pay me. That’s a good thing to have.”
Nicole Yang: Marcus Smart: “Boston’s like a second home to me. Boston’s shown me so much love since Year 1. You always want to give back to a city that shows you love because it’s hard to find people, things — anything that really cares about you and you care about it.“
Chris Forsberg: Does Marcus Smart see himself in Boston next season? “To be honest, I do. I haven’t really put too much thought into the offseason free agency thing. My No. 1 focus is on my family right now. I got a lot of stuff going on with my mom. She needs all the positive thinking.”
Mark Murphy: Stevens naturally wants Smart back: “Everybody in the building would tell you we would love to have Marcus back. Marcus has been great here – a big part of our DNA.”
Ainge could easily kick back, use that 27th overall draft pick on a project center who may be ready in two years and keep his team intact. And that very well could be the plan. A team source said the Celtics want to bring back Marcus Smart and keep Terry Rozier for added depth and being a fully loaded roster next season, where they will be the favorites to win the Eastern Conference.
Ojeleye has $950,000 protected that will increase to full ($1.4 million) if he is not waived by July 15. Nader has $450,000 protected that will increase to full ($1.4 million) if he is not waived by Aug. 1. Expect the Celtics to tender Smart his $6 million qualifying offer before the June 29 deadline. The guard will become restricted with Boston having the right to match any offers.
The guard is impacted by three factors: the lack of teams with cap space, depth at starting point guard and the finances of the Celtics in the future. Will another team invest $10 million to $12 million on a player to come off the bench? Maybe in 2016 when the cap spiked, but not two years later. For the reasons above, don’t be surprised if Smart signs his $6 million qualifying offer and enters free agency in 2019 as an unrestricted free agent. Unless, of course, Boston makes an offer with the intent of using the contract as a tradeable asset.
Smart, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, was told that Boston might not be able — or willing — to afford the $12-14 million a year price tag that he reportedly has been seeking. “To be honest, I’m worth more than 12-14 million,” Smart told ESPN. “Just for the things I do on the court that don’t show up on the stat sheet. You don’t find guys like that. I always leave everything on the court, every game. Tell me how many other players can say that.”
Marcus Smart asked about his future: “To be honest I’m not even thinking about that right now. My mind’s still on this loss and to be honest my mind is on my family right now.” His mom was recently diagnosed with cancer. I’m sure he can’t wait to get to Texas to see her.
Smart was told many of his teammates defended his 1-for-10 shooting in an excruciating Game 7 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night by insisting he is the heart of their team. “That’s what people say,” Smart said. “I’m not sure if you can put a price on that.”
Adam Kaufman: Asked who he’ll keep between Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, Danny Ainge laughed and said, “Keep ’em both!” How? “Very good question. I like both those guys. They’re both so different and bring different things to the table.” #Celtics (via @985TheSportsHub)
Barring a blow-out-the-budget offer from another club, the Celts seem very much prepared to match anything Smart will attract in the marketplace. This summer’s market will clearly be softened by all the big contracts handed out after the new television deals spiked the salary cap. And that may yield only the mid-level exception (some $8.5 million for non-taxpaying teams, and somewhere in the $5 million-plus range for teams in the luxury tax).
Ainge didn’t want to talk numbers. Ainge never wants to talk numbers. When asked if he expects Smart to be a Celtic next season, the president of basketball operations said, “I don’t know that. None of us know that. I hope so. I’m a big fan.”
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
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.
Though Marcus Smart is a walking paradox for fans and NBA execs alike, there seems to be a general consensus from the league sources I’ve chatted with that Smart would likely receive a deal next summer in the range that Andre Roberson — another plus defender who’s a negative offensively — signed with the Thunder this past offseason (three years, $30 million). I don’t buy it; $10 million seems far too low, even in a diminished free-agent market.
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July 22, 2018 | 12:15 pm EDT Update
What does the late Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss have to do with LeBron James joining his team in 2018? The query sounds like a trick question, but a new story has come to light that makes it seem as though Dr. Buss was the one to kickstart the Lakers’ eventual pursuit and signing of their now-superstar all the way back in 2010. The Lakers didn’t have nearly enough cap space then to actually be a serious threat to sign James. But according to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, Buss was thinking beyond that: Buss thought about calling James anyway. Over lunch with his kids, he mentioned the idea, offhandedly. “It’d be good to know that guy,” his son Joey recalled him saying.
League rules allowed teams to meet with any free agent. Why not meet with James to introduce him to the Lakers’ vision? Why not sow the seeds of a future partnership? “LeBron was always somebody that he was interested in,” said Buss’ daughter Jeanie, the Lakers co-owner.
One colleague during that period was Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who was an assistant with the Cavaliers from 2005-10. Impressed with Fernandez’s development in the organization, Malone hired Fernandez as an assistant coach in 2016. “He gets his foot in the door,” Malone said of Fernandez, “and he’s going to find a way to continue to fill gaps and do things that are necessary for the team and the staff to move forward.”
Now, the 35-year-old Fernandez is regarded as an up-and-comer in his field, perhaps a future NBA head coach. There are two primary reasons why. One, he has a thirst for knowledge. And two, as one former boss said, he’s the ultimate “people coach.” “He’s been around Hall of Famers, but he’s also been around the last guys in the G League,” said Mike Gansey, the Cavaliers’ assistant general manager. “Whoever walks through that door, he can relate to them … he’s either watched it, lived it or seen it. That’s why he’s so valuable. “He gives more than basketball. That’s why I think our guys got so much better and people liked him so much … He could read people and knew when he had to get on them and when not (to) and how to treat them to get the most out of them.”
July 22, 2018 | 5:42 am EDT Update
The Thunder, Hawks and Sixers agreed on a deal that involves sending Anthony to the Hawks, and the Hawks plan to buy out Anthony, per USA TODAY Sports. It’s reported that the Rockets are the favorites to sign Anthony once that happens. Morey was asked, “So are we for sure getting Carmelo Anthony?” He responded, “In the mix.” Morey also said, “Yes,” as a reply to, “Does Daryl still have something up his sleeve?”
“It would be a great acquisition for us,” said Harden, who did run into Anthony at Paris Fashion Week last month when Harden was making the rounds with teammate P.J. Tucker. “Melo’s a proven vet. He just wants to win at this point, so it would be great for him to be on our team. The current roster we have now, we’ve got good guys back and we keep making forward progress.”
Italian team Fiat Torino announced the signing of Molloy product Jaylen Morris. Morris had a good rookie season in the NBA G League with the Erie BayHawks as he averaged 12.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. In late February, he was called up by the Atlanta Hawks.