BOSTON (CBS) — With the Kawhi Leonard trade finally going down and the dynamics of the Eastern Conference taking shape, Danny Ainge is getting to business.
Despite reports that the lingering unsettled situation with restricted free agent guard Marcus Smart may last through the summer, a new report indicates that Ainge may be seeking to get a contract done once and for all.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Ainge and agent Happy Walters are now “seriously engaged in contract talks” for a four-year deal that would pay Smart between $11.5 million and $12.5 million per season.
After the Celtics lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, Smart said that he’s worth “more than 12-14 million.” After seeing the market as a restricted free agent, Smart and Walters’ demands have reportedly come back a bit from that number.
Smart, 24, averaged 10.2 points per game on 36.7 percent shooting (30.1 percent from 3-point range) along with 3.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 steals during the regular season. In the playoffs, he averaged 9.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
In his four-year NBA career, he’s averaged 9.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. He’s played in 261 career regular-season games, starting 83 of them. He’s played in 43 playoff games, starting 11 of them.
Despite the 2017-18 season being Smart’s fourth in Boston, he was the longest-tenured member of the team after being drafted sixth overall in 2014.
Wojnarowski characterized the talks as “ongoing,” which signifies progress for both sides.