BOSTON -- The Celtics have talked numbers with Marcus Smart’s agent regarding a contract extension.
If a deal isn’t done by next Monday, Oct. 16, Smart will become a restricted free agent next summer.
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“I don’t know how this negotiation will end,” Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, told NBC Sports Boston as part of their Celtics Preview show, which will air tonight at 8 p.m. “Regardless, we love Marcus and we’re anticipating him having the best year of his entire career this year.”
He certainly has gotten off to a good start.
Smart showed up for training camp 20 pounds lighter, moving better than he ever has since the Celtics drafted him with the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
The big knock on him has been his perimeter shooting, something Smart has done a surprisingly solid job with during the preseason. In four games, Smart averaged 10.0 points per game while shooting 57.1 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from 3-point range.
If you use recent history as a gauge for how an extension for Smart will play out, he’s more likely to hit restricted free agency this summer.
Last year, Kelly Olynyk was eligible for an extension and he wound up signing with the Miami Heat. In 2015, the Celtics did not get a deal done with Jared Sullinger.
Ainge was asked whether he’s surprised when teams sign players to rookie extension contracts.
“It’s important for you to get a good deal,” Ainge said. “Whatever we do over the next few days has no bearing on our long-term plans for Marcus. It just might be more expensive come next summer or less expensive come next summer. We’re both sort of rolling the dice.”
Based on the extensions already handed out to players in Smart’s draft class, it’s hard to imagine Smart signing for anything less than the extension Phoenix gave T.J. Warren (four years, $47 million), with a likely contract ceiling being the deal (four years, $84 million) Denver struck with Gary Harris, who established himself as one of the better two-way players last season.
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