Earlier this week reports surfaced that Marcus Smart and the Celtics have agreed to a four-year, $77.2 million extension that keeps him under contract in Boston through the 2025-26 NBA season.
The Celtics offered Smart the most money they could under the terms of the CBA, and the majority of the reaction to the deal from the team's perspective has been pretty positive. A couple of Smart's teammates, including Jayson Tatum, also chimed in on social media to congratulate the 27-year-old guard.
Among the people praising the contract from Boston's point of view is ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
On a recent segment of "Stephen A.'s World", Smith explained why Smart's extension is a great deal for the Celtics.
“There is no way that Marcus Smart should be getting less than $20 million a year,” Smith said. "That's right. You didn't expect that, did you? You thought I was going to go off the other way and say he was overpaid. Marcus Smart is a starter on a perennial playoff team, a seven-year veteran, 27 years of age, a former first-round draft pick and most importantly, one of the elite defenders in the game of basketball. And he’s getting less than $20 million a year in today’s NBA economy?
“I know, this was the max he could get, and I understand that. But hear this: Ain’t no way a player of Smart’s skill set should get this kind of contract in today’s game. And don’t tell me about his struggles shooting the ball. Not when Ben Simmons is making over $35 million a year; I don’t want to hear that. Brad Stevens and the Celtics did very well for themselves with this deal. There ain't no way Celtics fans should be complaining about this contract.”
Smith's points are valid.
Paying less than $20 million per year for a starting point guard in the prime of his career who's not afraid of shooting in crunch time, is a two-time All-Defensive first team selection and has become a quality playmaker, is just good business.
In fact, Smart currently has the 75th-highest base salary of any player for the 2022-23 season, which will be the first year of his new extension.
Smart is not a perfect player by any means. His shooting is often inconsistent and he's missed 10 or more games in four of his seven seasons with the Celtics. But for the role Smart plays, his extension should turn out to be a very good contract for the C's.