Celtics

New deal in hand, Marcus Smart says, 'Boston loves me, I love Boston'

New deal in hand, Marcus Smart says, 'Boston loves me, I love Boston'

Marcus Smart is right where he wants to be, a member of the Celtics.

But Smart, 24, who signed a four-year, $52 million deal on Thursday, readily admits that there was a time not that long ago when he wasn’t sure about his future in Boston when negotiations didn't go nearly as smooth as he would have liked.

“At one moment, I didn’t really know what to think,” Smart said in a conference call with reporters on Friday. “My main focus has been on my mom and my family.”

His mother Camellia Smart was recently diagnosed with bone marrow cancer.

“When you go through adversity with something like this in your family, it puts things in perspective and everything else becomes kind of a blur to you,” Smart said.

One thing that is clear has been his Smart's impact on the Celtics.

The 6-foot-4 guard has been among the league’s top on-the-ball defenders for years, showcasing a level of defensive versatility that stands out.

Boston allowed just 99.5 points per 100 possessions when Smart was on the floor, which ranked among the league's leaders among guards who played 41 or more games.

And while he is often criticized for his shooting struggles (a career 36-percent shooter from the field, 29.3 percent from 3-point range), Smart still averaged a respectable 10.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game last season primarily as Boston’s first guard off the bench.

Despite a solid season, the free agent marketplace was not kind one to him.

One of the main reasons for that? Smart was a restricted free agent, which meant the Celtics would have the right to match any offer sheet he signed.

Smart was also hurt by the fact that there were fewer teams with the kind of financial flexibility to put forth an offer sheet that would make the Celtics strongly consider letting him walk.

But even before Smart hit free agency, Danny Ainge and the entire Celtics organization made it absolutely crystal clear that they wanted him back.

And as the free agency period dragged on, the Celtics - at least in their words - never hedged from that position.

In the end, those words were put into action. 

"Keeping Marcus in a Celtics uniform was a top priority, said Ainge, the Celtics' president of basketball operations. "His intensity is unmatched, and the level of toughness that he brings to the team throughout the course of the entire season is second to none."

Smart acknowledged that the process became a bit frustrating at times.

“I didn’t know where I was going to end up at,” Smart said.

And while that uncertainty was difficult to deal with, Smart actually looks back upon the experience and describes it as “a fun thing.”

“As frustrating as it is,” Smart added, “not many people in the world can say that they’re in talks to play for an NBA team, to make a dream become a reality. Being able to do things they never imagined they would be able to do. This whole time, even with everything going on, me not knowing where I could end up, it was still fun, exciting for me.”

And those fun, exciting times will continue for the longest-tenured member of the Celtics.

“Boston loves me, I love Boston. Boston wants me to be here, I want to be here,” Smart said. “I am here so, we made it work.”

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Charles Barkley named this Celtics legend as best player he had to guard in NBA

Charles Barkley named this Celtics legend as best player he had to guard in NBA

Charles Barkley played in the golden era of the NBA.

His career began in the 1984-85 season at the height of the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson rivalry, and it ended after the 1999-00 campaign -- two seasons following Michael Jordan's second retirement from the Chicago Bulls after winning six championships in the 1990s.

Barkley played against many of the most talented players the sport has ever seen, but when asked about the best player he ever had to guard, one Boston Celtics legend stood above the rest. The "Round Mound of Rebound" recently revealed, via Joseph Sears of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, that Kevin McHale was the best player he ever played against.

"He's one of the greatest basketball players ever, and I actually work with him now on television," Barkley said during remarks at Tuesday's 32nd annual Stake and Burger event benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Rutherford County, Tennessee. "He's the best player I ever played against and had to guard."

This isn't the first time Barkley has praised McHale's game, and it probably won't be the last. 

McHale is the best low-post scorer in league history. He had a devastating repertoire of effective moves that consistently made opponents look silly. McHale and Barkley both played power forward, so they were matched up quite a bit, particularly during the legendary battles between the Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers during the 1980s. 

Barkley's and McHale's skill sets are not at the forefront of today's NBA. Low-post scoring has taken a backseat to the 3-point shot, and there's little (if any) evidence to suggest this trend will reverse anytime soon. One thing we know for sure is these two Hall of Fame players would've been successful in any era because their physical talents were so unique. 

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Carsen Edwards signs with Adidas, gets love from Ja Morant, other NBA rookies

Carsen Edwards signs with Adidas, gets love from Ja Morant, other NBA rookies

Carsen Edwards has parlayed all those NBA Summer League buckets into another multi-year deal.

The rookie point guard, who recently signed a four-year contract with the Boston Celtics, has signed with Adidas on a multi-year endorsement deal, per ESPN.com.

Edwards confirmed the news in an Instagram post Thursday.

It's not too often a second-round pick lands a shoe deal less than a month into his NBA career. But Edwards has earned the recognition since the Celtics took him No. 33 overall out of Purdue, averaging a team-best 19.4 points per game at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Edwards apparently has gained the respect of his peers, as well; No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant and first-rounder Jordan Poole were among several NBA rookies to show the 21-year-old love in the Instagram comment section.

Edwards also earned a new fan in former Celtics guard Nate Robinson.

The new deal is a good fit for Edwards, who grew up watching Tracy McGrady in his native Houston and actually got to meet the Basketball Hall of Famer during a recent Adidas photo shoot.

"Being able to meet Tracy McGrady is absolutely insane to me," Edwards told ESPN.com. "Them actually wanting my opinion on new things that they're looking to drop, asking me would I wear it or what I would change, that's been really cool."

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