BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics have been saying for weeks that Marcus Smart is their top priority during this free-agency period.
Well, it looks like those words are starting to lead to the kind of action Smart and his camp have been looking for all summer.
The Celtics and Smart’s agent Happy Walters are reportedly in "serious" talks about a four-year deal that would pay Smart a salary that would reportedly total somewhere in the $46-50 million range -- similar to the range in which Boston was negotiating with Smart prior to the start of this past season.
While Smart’s camp went into the summer seeking a deal that would average closer to $15 million per season, league executives have consistently maintained Smart’s value was $10 million-$12 million annually.
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Because of that figure and Smart being a restricted free agent, teams were reluctant to put forth an offer sheet that they assumed the Celtics would match unless it was north of $15 million per season -- an extremely high price for even such a talented role player as Smart.
With Kawhi Leonard being traded from San Antonio to Toronto, that all but eliminated the Celtics from making any kind of roster-altering move this summer.
And because of that, it made more sense to start engaging Smart’s camp in working out a multiyear deal to keep the veteran guard in the fold for years to come.
A league source anticipated a deal would get done quickly for a number of reasons with one that stands out more than the others.
“They want him back, and he’s made it clear he wants to come back,” the source told NBC Sports Boston. “Both sides have a better idea of what his value is, in this market now and I think they can come to a number that works for both of them.”