BOSTON (CBS) — Marcus Smart will soon hit the restricted free agent market, but he believes he’ll be back in a Celtics uniform next season.
That’s great news for Boston, as Smart has become one of their most important cogs on the defensive end. He has dreams of getting a big payday this offseason, and it appears that he wants those paychecks to come from the Celtics. Boston would certainly love to have him back (at the right price), making life miserable against the opposition’s best offensive player for head coach Brad Stevens.
But even in one of the most important summers of his young NBA career, Smart admits that his focus has not been on basketball. His attention has instead been with his family, spending the majority of his offseason back home in Texas.
“To be honest, I do [believe I’ll be back],” Smart told reporters at his youth basketball camp at Brandeis University in Waltham on Wednesday. “I haven’t really put too much thought into this offseason, the free agency thing. My No. 1 focus is on my family right now. I have a lot going on with my mom and she needs all the positive thinking.”
Smart’s mother, Camellia, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and she recently suffered some heartbreaking complications. Smart told reporters Wednesday that she lost her ability to walk due to chemotherapy, and they also found kidney stones on the kidney she has left.
“But her spirits are up and that’s all you can ask for,” Smart said of his mother’s battle.
There are rumors out there that the Dallas Mavericks are interested in signing Smart this offseason, which would bring the four-year guard closer to home. But Smart said location will not play into his decision this offseason.
“Wherever I go, my mom is going to be ecstatic and support me. Being away from her is hard, but she understands,” he said.
Smart made it clear that he’s loved his time in Boston, and Wednesday’s camp is a great way to give back to the community that has embraced him both on and off the basketball court.
“It means a lot, especially everything I’ve been dealing with. To see these kids smiling and enjoying the time, it means a lot,” he said with a big smile. “I just hope with me being here and showing my face, hopefully it touches one of them and when they get older they do the same.”
Smart is a fiery competitor willing to sacrifice his body for any loose ball and unafraid to mix it up with much bigger players on the floor. He admits that he has to tone it down a bit around the 8-to-18-year-olds in his camp, but that his bulldog mentality still shows itself on occasion.
“You don’t want to cross that line and scare the kids, so you have to dial it down a little bit. But it’s still there and the kids love it,” Smart professed. “They love being out here and playing. They love their dog and they love to compete.”
That being said, Smart did say he wouldn’t be diving for any loose balls until next season. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t try to draw a charge or two during the camp.
He’s the same, fiery Marcus any time he’s on the court.