The 2021-22 season was one of significant growth from Marcus Smart. Given the keys to the offense as the team’s starting point guard, Smart upped his playmaking capabilities, reeled in his oftentimes wild shot selection, and continued to play his brand of hard-nosed defense. Smart won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award and helped lead the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals.
Smart may have inadvertently lost himself a lot of money this offseason
It was quite a season for Smart, and he looked well worth the four-year, $77 million extension he got from the Celtics and their new President of Basketball Operations, Brad Stevens. Stevens made a lot of great moves when it came to the construction of Boston’s roster last offseason when he was transitioning from coaching to the front office, but extending Smart when he did may have been the best of the bunch.
Some Celtics fans may dispute that claim, however, Smart’s fit in Boston’s backcourt has never been very natural, and he still makes agonizing plays that leave fans scratching their heads. He reduced them to an extent last season, but it’s clear he still made them occasionally.
In retrospect, Smart’s extension was a huge win for the Celtics. The reason is quite simple; had Smart not been extended the last offseason, he would have been eligible for a five-year, $253.88 million supermax extension from the Celtics. That would only be possible because Smart won DPOY last season, meaning the C’s might have gotten one of the biggest steals in the NBA when they extended Smart in 2021.
Would the Celtics have actually offered Smart a supermax extension?
Just because Smart is eligible for a max deal doesn’t mean he would get one. That would have instantly made Smart the highest-paid player on a Celtics team he is not the best player on. Boston also couldn’t afford such a deal, considering their looming extension for Jaylen Brown that is also creeping up.
Chances are Smart would have received a pretty big offer if he reached free agency, though. Smart’s max deal eligibility would turn his free agency into a bidding war with virtually no ceiling. Smart probably wouldn’t have gotten a max deal from another team, but he would have gotten more than the four-year, $77 million extension he got from Boston.
This is certainly an interesting note, as some Celtics fans weren’t in favor of Smart’s extension when it was handed out last offseason (myself included). A year later, though, it may end up being one of the best deals in the league. Smart will look to prove just how much of a steal he is again in the upcoming 2022-23 season as he attempts to lead the C’s back to the Finals for the second straight season.