Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens erased any short-term speculation about the future of guard Marcus Smart by signing the senior Celtic to a four-year, $77 million extension, according to a league source.
Smart was entering the final year of his contract and his future as a Celtic would have become more cloudy if the season progressed without an extension. The Celtics signed Smart to the maximum extension for his status and it’s the second contract extension the combo guard has signed since being drafted in 2014.
Smart has attracted his share of diehard fans and detractors over the years because of his fiery play, questionable shot selection and staunch defense. He struggled last season after missing a month with a calf injury but new coach Ime Udoka has maintained he wants Smart to be a focal part of the offense.
Stevens has always supported Smart in his years as coach and Smart has become a floor leader and indispensable to the team’s chemistry. Smart has played seven years with the Celtics, averaging 10.2 points, 4.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds but just 37.6 shooting from the field.
Despite those shooting struggles, Smart has become elite defensive player over the past few years, earning two first-team all-defense honors. Smart agreed to a four-year, $52 million contract in July of 2018 with the final year of that deal at $14.3 million being this coming season.
There had been speculation that Stevens was open to including Smart in sign-and-trade deals for players such as Lonzo Ball. But those opportunities quickly dried up in the first few days of free agency and the Celtics added to the backcourt by signing veteran Dennis Schroder to a one-year deal.