Marcus Smart Celtics update: the free agent guard reportedly had an encounter with general manager Danny Ainge during a summer league game.
Time will tell where Smart will play his 2018-19 season. This free agency period has been tough for players that aren't LeBron James, especially restricted free agents like Smart.
However, another recent deal may open the door for a big offer to Smart. The Sacramento Kings gave a huge offer to fellow RFA guard Zach LaVine.
The Chicago Bulls quickly matched for LaVine, so now the Kings are reportedly turning their attention to Smart. NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely reported as much last night:
If the Kings make an offer, it is very unclear what the Marcus Smart Celtics situation will be.
Smart is a unique player, able to defend the majority of positions on the court, but he's not a great shooter and that limits his offensive utility. The Celtics, who have a number of young stars that they will want to lock up down the line, may not want to invest heavily in Smart.
That didn't stop Danny Ainge for going to see him during a summer league game on Monday night. From the Boston Globe:
On Monday night, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge spotted Smart, and as he walked down the aisle behind him, he playfully twisted the black baseball cap on Smart’s head. Smart initially did not know who was messing around with him, and when he turned and saw that it was Ainge, both of them briefly smiled before Ainge continued down the aisle and left the gym.
It is believed to be their first interaction during this somewhat uncomfortable process, and while it was hardly a contract negotiation, it was something. A source close to Smart told the Globe on Friday that Smart was hurt by the Celtics’ lack of communication with him during this process.
It sounds like the interaction was light. However, it doesn't seem like Smart knows anything more about where he stands with the club.
On Monday, about 30 minutes after crossing paths with Ainge, Smart had a brief interview with the Globe and The Athletic as he walked from the Nuggets/Bucks game to watch the Suns face the Magic in an adjacent arena. When asked where things stood with the Celtics, Smart responded: “That’s what I want to know. I have no clue. I can only control what I can control.”
Smart might be a fan favorite in Boston thanks to his hard play, but it seems very likely that he'll be suiting up elsewhere next season.