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NBA Free Agency: Smart to re-sign with the Celtics, Nemanja Bjelica to consider Kings

SENIOR ANALYST
News
341   //    19 Jul 2018, 16:27 IST

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

Offseason is the dreariest time of the year for a basketball fan. Save for the first few days, which saw The King sign with the Lakers and Boogie Cousins sign a heavily discounted deal to recover from an Achilles injury free of pressure, there hasn't been much going on. Admittedly, Paul George's decision to stay at Oklahoma City was not something most of us saw coming, but much of the footage his 3-part Sportscenter series could have taken up in our lives was gobbled up by the bombshells Cousins and James dropped at the start of this month.

Players like Tyreke Evans, Dwight Howard, Jabari Parker and Zach LaVine have gone on to ink some crucial deals since then. They weren't however, the hottest property on the market back then, with the likes of Clint Capela and Marcus Smart still in the restricted free agency class. Both of them are proven playoff performers but are yet to sign confirmed deals thus far.

The Celtics, though, seem to have made much more progress with their 2014 draft pick than the Rockets have. Read on to find out the full details:

#1 Marcus Smart nears a long-term contract agreement with the Celtics

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five
Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five

The Celtics and restricted free agent Marcus Smart have re-engaged in contract talks. According to a league source, the belief is the discussions are now “going in the right direction.” The Celtics have made their latest offer to Smart, the source said, and as of Wednesday morning the guard and his camp were giving it a good look.

ESPN reported Wednesday that the two sides are in discussions about a four-year contract in the $46 million-$50 million range. A Boston Globe source said the hope is that a multiyear contract will be finalized between the sides within a week, but cautioned that contract talks can be fickle, as one party may believe a deal is near while the other does not.

If the Celtics sign Smart to a multiyear deal, they would almost certainly enter the luxury tax in the coming season, costing them more this year and also starting the clock on the even costlier repeater tax that goes into effect when a team is above the tax line for three out of four years. While Boston’s ownership’s obvious preference is to limit costs, it has also publicly stated that it is fully prepared to pay the tax to build a title contender.

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SENIOR ANALYST
Started as an Arsenal fan at the age of 6. Became a Ronaldo and a Real Madrid fan after the 2002 World Cup. Bandwagon Celtics fan this season, though I've watched the NBA with increasing frequency over the past 14 years or so. Played both games with my high school team at some of the highest levels there are in India. Played against East Bengal u-17s in college. A member of Mercurial FC, 1st division Amateur League team in Bangalore.
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