Since Kemba Walker was shipped out of town back in June, the Boston Celtics had been linked to their fair share of plug-and-play point guard options. From Lonzo Ball to Kyle Lowry, the list goes on and on. However, the team opted against splurging on a big-name free agent this summer. Instead, they unofficially handed the torch to their longest-tenured player, Marcus Smart.
The Celtics re-upped the seven-year veteran on a $77.1 million contract extension that could keep him in Beantown through 2026, and the team’s perceived starting point guard wouldn’t have it any other way.
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather play and no other fans I’d rather play in front of. I love Boston, and Boston loves me,” Smart said in a press release formally announcing his extension. “We’ve had some great moments and success in my time here, but there’s more to accomplish. I’m ready to put that Celtics jersey back on and get to work out on the Parquet with my teammates.”
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Brad Stevens: ‘We Are Thrilled’
Smart wasn’t the only one to voice his excitement at the ability to solidify his placement in the team’s long-term plans.
President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens, who was rumored to be at his wit’s end with Smart just a few weeks ago, issued a statement on behalf of the organization regarding the team’s excitement to retain Smart.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to extend Marcus, and thankful that he has chosen to remain a Celtic,” said Stevens. “In his seven years in Boston, he has made a big impact, on and off the court. It is not a coincidence that every team he’s played on has been in the playoffs, with several series wins throughout the years. He adds to winning on both ends of the floor, and competes with a grit and toughness that few match.”
Outlook on Smart & Celtics’ PG Position
Smart, who has played under Stevens in every one of his NBA seasons since being selected No. 6 overall in 2014, is coming off a career campaign in 2020 where he took profound strides offensively. In 48 games (45 starts), the 27-year-old set personal-bests in points (13.1 per game), assists (5.7 per game) and offensive rating (114.2). Already one of the league’s premier on-ball defenders, the two-time All-Defensive First Team selection will look to continue rounding out his game in what is expected to be his first full season as the team’s go-to option at point guard.
Behind him, or alongside him — depending on how coach Ime Udoka chooses to deploy him — is free-agent signee, Dennis Schroder. A bargain addition for the Celtics, the 27-year-old is coming off a rocky year with the Los Angeles Lakers but is just one season removed from finishing second in voting for the NBA’s Sixth-Man of the Year award.
Add in a blossoming Payton Pritchard and a former top-five pick in Kris Dunn and Boston — while maybe lacking a certified star — has more than enough at their disposal in the backcourt to get the job done in the East.