After frustration, a Summer League visit and weeks of silence on the Marcus Smart front, Happy Walters and Danny Ainge entered negotiation on a long-term deal according to Adrian Wojnarowski. The parameters of a potential Smart contract, which could now be imminent, figure to be between $46-50 million over four years.
Celtics GM Danny Ainge and Happy Walters, the agent for restricted free agent guard Marcus Smart, are now seriously engaged in contract talks, league sources tell ESPN. Potential deal range is in the four-year, $46M-$50M range, sources tell ESPN. Talks ongoing.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 18, 2018
The average annual value of $11-12 million would allow the C’s to make minor moves to avoid the luxury tax threshold while retaining their entire core from the 2017-18 season. Boston entered Wednesday with roughly $115-million in salary committed to the roster after signing Aron Baynes, Robert Williams and Brad Wanamaker along with guaranteeing the salaries of Daniel Theis and Semi Ojeleye.
That leaves the team with approximately $8.6 million in wiggle room under the league’s $123.7 million tax threshold. Boston can avoid repeater tax payments until after the 2023-24 season if they avoid that mark this year, due to the stipulation of three out of four years in the tax triggering expensive multipliers on tax payments. Marcus Morris’ $5-million expiring salary could be in play to shed needed space.
Few teams maintained the salary to successfully make an offer that could push Boston to match or let him go despite that limited room for error. The Bulls were one of them until they splurged on restricted free agents Zach LaVine and Jabari Parker in the past week. That left less than one handfull of organizations remaining with significant space.
A potential deal assures the C’s have at least one proven point guard secured for the long haul. Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier are free agents after the 2018-19 season and are not expected to sign extensions before then.
Wojnarowski reported that talks between Walters and Ainge are ongoing so stay tuned for updates.