CLEVELAND — Celtics guard Marcus Smart said he thought his camp’s request during contract extension negotiations with the team were reasonable, but he was not upset that the sides were unable to reach a deal prior to Monday’s 6 p.m. deadline.
“We thought it was close from the fact that we didn’t ask for much,” Smart said Tuesday. “We didn’t ask for a max deal. We were going to take less money than what we probably are valued, and some other things, but they just weren’t budging.”
Smart will now become a restricted free agent at season’s end. The Celtics could re-sign him then, or they could wait to see what offer sheet he signs with another team and then simply match it to keep him in Boston. The Celtics have made it clear that Smart remains in their long-term plans despite the failure to reach an agreement on an extension.
Smart said he believed the Celtics’ uneasiness about how a hefty extension could have severe luxury-tax implications affected the team’s thinking.
“We even gave them options of things where they wouldn’t have to pay or be so deep into the luxury tax,” Smart said, “and they still wouldn’t budge.”
Nevertheless, Smart said there are no sour grapes, and he is ready to dive into what has become a contract year for him.
“It’s just as big a motivator as me playing well this year in general,” Smart said. “It just makes it an even bigger year for me.
“Unfortunately, it’s the business. This won’t be the last time somebody is in this situation, and just play it out and see how the year goes.
“Everybody’s making it out like ‘Oh, that’s a bad thing.’ It’s not a bad thing. Just hoping it’s going to be a fun year and just play it out.”