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NBA Free Agency: Marcus Smart signs a 4-year, $52 million deal with the Boston Celtics


Marcus Smart and James Young Introduced as Boston Celtics
Marcus Smart and Danny Ainge

What's the story?

As reported by Yahoo's Shams Charania, Marcus Smart has agreed to a 4-year, $52 million deal with the Boston Celtics. The Celtics had extended him a qualifying offer before the free agency window opened, and they were able to constructively work with the 6th pick from the 2014 draft class and reach the aforementioned deal.

Did you know?

Ever since drafting Smart with the 6th overall pick in 2014, the Celtics have made the playoffs every year, and improved their record on a season-by-season basis as they went from 40 wins in 2014-15 to 55 wins in 2017-18.

The heart of the matter

Amid the helter-skelter start to free agency, Smart and the Celtics camp deliberated over a long-term deal. Celtics GM Danny Ainge has always maintained his love for Smart's tough-nosed style of play, and it was generally looked upon as a matter of time before the two parties reached an agreement over the terms of Smart's contract.

What's next?

The Celtics will have tough decisions on their hands to make in the next few years. They have a boatload of young talent all on their rookie deals, including Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

For now, they have secured the core of their roster squarely in place for the 2018-19 season. Smart is likely to continue to be the backup point guard, what with All-Star Kyrie Irving slated to make a comeback by the start of training camp in September.

Author's take

'Cobra', as Marcus Smart is called in the Celtics' locker room, is one of the most valuable hustle guys in the entire league. Never afraid to mix it up, Smart combines playmaking ability and defensive expertise in a manner that few other guards in the league are capable of doing.

It is safe to say that he is the best defensive point guard in the league right now, and he has shown the ability to switch onto players much bigger than him in the post and defend adequately. His only downside is his tendency to take bad shots early in the shot clock, and he has been a below-average 3-point shooter for all of his 4 years in the league.

Every team needs players like him in order to succeed - players unafraid to take the last shot, make defensive plays and able to switch onto perimeter threats on the other team whenever needed. He fits neatly into coach Brad Stevens' long-term plans, and is well worth the $13 million annual salary that he will command over the next 4 years.

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