The Boston Celtics suffered some big injuries to Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward last season. Despite those injuries during the season, the Celtics still galvanized together and found a way to continue their success. Terry Rozier stepped in for Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum stepped up their play in the absence of Hayward. These three players made a name for themselves and as for Rozier, he created some trade buzz for himself. Another player that helped keep the Celtics afloat despite the losses of Hayward and Irving is Marcus Smart. He is as tough as they come when it comes to guards and he definitely was a leader on that team regardless if he started or not. Heading into this offseason, there was some wondering how the Celtics would sort out their point guard position. Rozier and Irving are free agents next season and Smart is a restricted free agent this offseason. Well, Rozier and Irving are still there and Smart is still looking for a contract, to which he has not heard anything from the Celtics organization at all. With that being the case, Smart is essentially stuck in a holding pattern with only two options.
The first option Smart has (if he is trying to get paid) is to see if there is a team that will offer him money the Celtics will not right now. He has met with a couple teams while out at the NBA Summer League games in Las Vegas, but one team that has been mentioned in regards to preparing an offer sheet is the Sacramento Kings (not confirmed if they are one of the two teams he met with out in Las Vegas). They could more than likely pay him. Although he is seeking $15 million a season, he is rumored to want to take less than $15 million a season for a multiyear deal. With the Kings, he would not be the starting point guard. While his impact would be felt in his intensity he plays with, the team he would be going to would not be very good and unfortunately, does not look to be competing in the West anytime soon. So although he may be able to get his money there from them, he would surely not be any closer to winning a title with them. The only good thing out of this deal would be he would get a definitely get some communication from the Celtics because the Kings would force their hand. And in 48 hours from the offer sheet officially being signed, he would know where he would be next season.
That option would be one that could give him a substantial pay raise, but there is one other option that could be happening as well. As of right now, the Kings have not put together the offer that they are reportedly going to offer him. The reality is that offer that was talked about could never come and Smart could continue to be out there. If that is the case, then Smart would be in his right mind to sign the qualifying offer from the Celtics. The offer, which is reportedly worth $6.1 million, would give Smart a significant pay raise for the 2018-2019 season. It also would allow him to be available on the market as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019. Next summer is the year where many teams should have money available to spend on free agents since many 2016 deals are set to expire. Smart may not cash in with the Celtics next summer, but there will be more suitors out there available. And the even better thing for him is that he will probably get to play the traditional point guard spot that he has not really got a chance to play his entire career. Whether you like him or not, Smart displays characteristics of a leader and that personality leading a team can help improve them. Of course other areas like shooting is where he could harm some teams when he gets paid.
The Celtics have a decision to make and it seems like they are set to let other teams make it for them. Since they acquired Kyrie Irving and paid Gordon Hayward, the money is slim in Boston to pay Smart too. So while it seems like Smart may be the odd man out, he probably won't be the only guy headed out of town if he signs his qualifying offer for next season. It will be interesting to see how it will unfold, but Smart isn't a happy man right now and the Celtics are happy to play the waiting game while dangling the qualifying offer out there still.