While on the air on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich,” Chris Mannix reported that 3 NBA teams will be showing varying levels of interest in Marcus Smart this summer as he enters restricted free agency. According to Mannix, the Sacramento Kings, the Denver Nuggets and the Indiana Pacers are all planning to go after the Boston Celtics guard when the free agency period begins.
The Sacramento Kings just went a whole season with De’Aaron Fox at the helm of their offense, especially after the trade deadline when the team sent George Hill away to Cleveland in exchange for Iman Shumpert who just opted in for the 2018-19 season. The Kings also employ Buddy Hield in the backcourt, a player they acquired in the DeMarcus Cousins trade from the 2016-17 season.
Mannix notes that the Denver Nuggets would need to be creative to move some pieces around, but they’re still interested in pursuing Smart after just missing out on the playoffs last season. Jamal Murray and Gary Harris man the backcourt in Denver, but the team lacks a true floor general. Smart, and his ability to run the offense, might provide the boost that the Nuggets need after laboring through much of last season without Paul Millsap.
The Indiana Pacers are an Eastern Conference playoff team that could also make a run at Marcus Smart. With the aging Darren Collison starting at the point guard position, it’s understandable that the Pacers might want to inject their starting lineup with the youth, athleticism and hustle that Smart provides. With Thaddeus Young considering opting out of his final year, the Pacers could have enough money and opportunity for Smart to make Boston sweat.
Despite telling ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan that he believes he is worth more than $12-14 million a year, Marcus Smart is still a restricted free agent who said that he wants to be back with the Celtics next year. The Celtics can match any offer sheet that Smart signs, locking him in as a Celtic for the foreseeable future. The real question is how much the Celtics are willing to match. Mannix mentioned that he isn’t “sure it’s going to be an offer that Boston’s not going to be able to match.”
Also, there’s this.
Will Smart find a team that’ll price the Celtics out of matching? Will the Celtics agree to a comfortable deal before he even talks to other teams? Will Smart prioritize starting or money? Find out next time on Drago- I mean, stay tuned as free agency approaches.