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Marcus Smart Believes He’s Worth More Than $12-14 Million, Wants to Stay With Celtics



Marcus Smart is headed for restricted free agency this offseason, and his value lies in the eyes of the beholder. What do you pay a gritty, do-it-all combo guard who can defend multiple positions, produces enough energy to power the sun, but can’t shoot a lick from the 3-point line?

The going rate among many hoops heads is roughly $12 million a year, give or take, but the fourth-year pro thinks that is pennies for the value he brings to the C’s.

“To be honest, I’m worth more than 12-14 million,” Smart told ESPN this weekend after Boston bowed out in the Eastern Conference Finals. “Just for the things I do on the court that don’t show up on the stat sheet. You don’t find guys like that. I always leave everything on the court, every game. Tell me how many other players can say that.”

Smart proved his value by playing nearly 30 minutes per game in the East Finals, switching on to bigger defenders — like LeBron James — and scoring 8.9 points per contest for the banged up Celtics. Still, his putrid 22.6 percent hit rate from 3, and his 32.8 percent accuracy from the field is tough to overlook. He hasn’t improved much as a scorer during his pro career, and Boston is loaded with options at guard.

Even more tough to forget was his 1-for-10 shooting performance in Game 7, though ESPN reports his teammates defended him by pointing to his heart and grit in the East’s deciding game that was ultimately dominated by LeBron.

As a restricted free agent this summer, Smart could accept a qualifying offer from Boston worth $6.1 million to play the 2018-19 season, then hit unrestricted free agency in 2019-20. Or, Smart could potentially get an offer worth his while by another team this summer. If the Suns, for example, swoop in with a $15 million-per-year offer, Boston would have to match to keep him on the roster or let him sign with Phoenix for a bigger payday.

“I got a lot to think about. There’s a lot of factors that go into it,” Smart told ESPN. “But that being said, I want to be in Boston. I want to be here. I love this city, I love this team, I love the atmosphere it gives off. I’ve been here for four years. My heart’s here. But there’s definitely going to be some factors going into it.

“Danny emphasizes all the time how much he loves me as a player and emphasized how much they want me here,” continued Smart. “I want to be here, so that’s the plan right now.”

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