Smart focused on preparing for season, not a potential payday

Smart focused on preparing for season, not a potential payday

WALTHAM, Mass. – The amount of money players have been hauling in recently in the NBA has not gone unnoticed by Marcus Smart who is eligible for a contract extension.

Knowing his situation and the potential payday he could be in line for if a deal can be agreed upon by October 16, the fourth-year guard says his focus right now is one thing – preparing for this upcoming season with the Boston Celtics.

“I haven’t put any thought into that right now,” Smart said. “My main focus is to come out here and get ready for the season. We’ll handle that when it comes; control what we can control.”


This will be the third straight year the Celtics will have a player they drafted who is eligible for a contract extension off of their rookie deal.

In the two previous instances (Jared Sullinger in 2015 and Kelly Olynyk in 2016), the players did not get a new deal done and ultimately became restricted free agents before having their respective qualifying offers rescinded by Boston which then allowed them to become unrestricted free agents.

Sullinger wound up signing a one-year, $6 million deal with Toronto while Olynyk agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal with the Miami Heat this past summer.

Where Smart falls money-wise with the Celtics is unclear, but there’s no question Smart will land a multi-year, eight-figure payday whether it’s in Boston or elsewhere.

Taken with the sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft, it has been slow motion for players in his draft class to get extensions completed.

The top overall pick in 2013, Andrew Wiggins, is reportedly close to getting a five-year, $148 million extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Phoenix forward T.J. Warren, selected with the 14th overall pick by the Suns in 2013, has agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract.

Some of the bigger names eligible for extensions include Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Utah’s Dante Exum and Rodney Hood, Chicago’s Zach LaVine, Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

Smart acknowledged that his camp has had conversations with the Celtics about an extension, but there hasn’t been dialogue that has gone back and forth on a daily or regular basis.

“My main focus is getting ready for this season and everything else will handle itself,” Smart said.

That said, Smart can’t help but notice the ginormous contracts some of his fellow NBA players are landing with the most recent eye-catcher being the five-year, $205 million extension Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook signed on Sept. 29 which just so happened to be the birthday of his ex-teammate Kevin Durant (read into that what you want to).

“It’s huge; it’s crazy,” Smart said of the massive contracts. “Those guys definitely deserve it. But like I said, that’s not my focus. I can’t control what those guys are getting. I can only control what I can control.”


Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

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Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

The Orlando Magic are one of the few teams already eliminated from playoff contention. 

And on Friday, it didn’t take long to see why.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST - Smart's importance, dissecting the Eastern Conference

The Boston Celtics didn’t waste any time taking control of the game and never letting up as they cruised to a 92-83 win.

Terry Rozier and Greg Monroe led the Celtics with 17 points each and Shelvin Mack had 16 points and seven rebounds for Orlando.  

With the win, the Celtics (47-22) snapped a two-game losing skid and improved their record since returning from the All-Star break to 7-3. 

Getting back on a winning track was just part of Boston’s motivation heading into Friday night’s game. 

With several key players out with injuries, the Celtics’ depth was once again on display from the opening tip to the final horn. 

In the first half, reserve guard Shane Larkin led the team in scoring with 10 points. 

And in the third quarter, backup center Greg Monroe was too much for the Magic to handle around the basket.

In the third, Monroe scored 10 of his 17 points off Boston’s bench. 

This was a game that the Celtics showed few signs of the kind of let-up we have seen them display against bad teams from time to time. 

But Orlando opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run that cut Boston’s lead down to 77-61 with 9:18 to play. 

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had seen enough and called a time-out. 

Orlando was able to chip away a little more at Boston’s lead which peaked at 24 points but was down to single digits in the fourth which provided a glimmer of hope that maybe just maybe, the Magic could get back in the game.

But when it mattered, Boston made the plays in the game’s closing moments to secure the victory. 

For the Celtics, the goal on Friday night was two-fold: find a way to win and come away healthy. 

Boston found success on both fronts, a refreshing change the Celtics hope to do more of going forward. 

Marcus Smart underwent surgery on his right thumb earlier in the day, which is expected to keep him sidelined for 6-8 weeks which would put his return to the floor at the earliest, sometime near the end of the first round of the playoffs or early into the second. 

Daniel Theis underwent season-ending surgery recently for a meniscus tear in his left knee.

And Boston played without Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness), but he might back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

Al Horford returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to an illness, and he didn’t disappoint in finishing with a near double-double of 15 point and nine rebounds.


Celtics: Smart to be sidelined six to eight weeks

Celtics: Smart to be sidelined six to eight weeks

BOSTON – Marcus Smart is out for the remainder of the regular season, but there’s a very good chance he’ll be available at some point in the Boston Celtics' postseason quest. 
The 6-foot-4 guard underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb which is expected to keep him sidelined for six to eight weeks. 


“It’s a tough deal for Marcus,” coach Brad Stevens told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “Marcus has been an incredible player for us all year. He’s meant a lot to us.”
If we’re working from today, that would put Smart’s return to the floor most likely near the end of the first round or early in the second.
While Smart’s statistics don’t jump off the page, there’s no getting around the impact he has made on this team this season. 
After missing several games after punching a picture frame in Los Angeles, the Celtics struggled in his absence. Upon his return right after the All-Star break, the C's began playing some of their best basketball of the season. 
But as important as Smart has been to the team this season, Boston has been a “Next Man Up” squad all season, so the Celtics are well-versed on how to make up for the loss of key players. 
Look for extended minutes going forward for Terry Rozier and Abdel Nader, two of the team’s healthier perimeter players. 
Boston’s Semi Ojeleye is likely to see his role increase as well with Smart out as well as Daniel Theis who recently underwent season-ending surgery on his torn meniscus injury suffered in Boston’s 99-97 loss to Indiana. 


“We’re going to be in the process of really looking at ourselves and redistribute responsibility on our team without guys going outside of what they do best,” Stevens said. 
Smart appeared in 54 games this season, averaging 10.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. He has a defensive rating of 99.6 which ranks fifth in the league among players who averaged at least 28 minutes played per game.