Celtics

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.”

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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not get a new deal done and ultimately became restricted free agents before having their respective qualifying offers rescinded by Boston which then allowed them to become unrestricted free agents.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.”

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Report: Celtics waive swingman Abdel Nader

Report: Celtics waive swingman Abdel Nader

The Celtics have waived swingman Abdel Nader, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports. It opens up a roster spot perhaps for Jabari Bird or another player who impressed in Summer League play.

Nader, 24, a native of Egypt, was a second-round pick in 2016 (58th overall). The 6-6 guard/small forward averaged 3.0 points and 1.5 rebounds and shot 33.6 percent (35.4 from 3) in 48 games last season, his first in the NBA.  He's still owed $450,000 but the rest of his contract was non-guaranteed. 

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Hayward looks just about ready in latest video

Hayward looks just about ready in latest video

Gordon Hayward told our Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely earlier this week that "I'm just about full speed" (see video above) as he recovers from the devastating injury that derailed his season five minutes into his Celtics debut.

As if to prove it, Hayward posted an Instagram video that shows his surgically repaired ankle appearing to hold up pretty well as he hits a series of step-back and turnaround jumpers working with skills coach Drew Hanlen and finishes with him sinking 18 consecutive 3-pointers and counting.

It's on to five-on-five work next month. 

Click here for more on Blakely's exclusive one-on-one interview with Hayward.

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