Brad Stevens made his first major long-term bet of his tenure as president of the basketball operations team, agreeing to a four-year extension with Marcus Smart worth over $ 77 million, as first reported by Adrian Wojnarnowski of ESPN.com.
The move rewards the oldest Celtic with his second four-year contract and also includes a commercial kicker to Athletic’s Shams Charania. This clause likely created an additional incentive for Smart to sign now for the maximum contract Boston was able to offer before Smart hit the agency for free next summer.
In the meantime, the bigger question is what exactly Smart’s contract means for the Celtics’ free agency plans for 2022 and beyond.
No maximum cap next year for Celtics without trading Smart
The Celtics had operated this offseason with the possibility of opening up maximum free agency ceiling space next summer for a maximum player with a few minor moves. Smart’s expansion takes away that flexibility in Boston (unless he’s traded into another team’s ceiling space). Smart’s expansion is expected to kick off in the 2022-2023 season and will absorb a significant amount of cap for the team next season.
2022-2023: $ 17.2 million
2023-24: $ 18.5 million
2024-25: $ 20 million
2025-26: $ 21.3 million
A closer look at the Celtics’ salary commitments during the 2022-2023 season shows that they will be a long way from opening a maximum free slot now with Smart’s deal on the books.
Celtics Salaries 2022-23
Jayson Tatum : 30,5 millions de dollars
Jaylen Brown : 28,7 millions de dollars
Al Horford: $ 26.5 million ($ 14.5 million guaranteed)
Marcus Smart: $ 17.2 million
Romeo Langford: $ 5.6 million (team option)
Grant Williams: $ 4.3 million (team option)
Aaron Nesmith: $ 3.8 million (team option)
Payton Pritchard: $ 2.2 million (team option)
Total amount guaranteed for the 2022-2023 season: $ 106.8 million
Expected salary cap: $ 119 million
What does this mean for a Bradley Beal lawsuit?
A trade or a signing and a trade was probably always going to be the most likely path to a player like Beal as Boston would have to give up several key supporting players (like Smart and Rob Williams) to clear the margin to sign Beal. downright next summer.
Brad Stevens’ bet here is that if Beal decides he wants to come to Boston, Smart and / or the team’s other assets (draft pick and young players) will be the smarter way to acquire him rather than to empty the team around Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in order to re-sign him.
The Celtics may also view Smart as a more valuable business asset signed as part of a long-term deal rather than being on a contract expiring this season. It’s also quite possible that the team just like it as a piece of long-term support.
Either way, it’s a bit of a bet for Brad Stevens, sacrificing some flexibility and betting on Smart having a big rebound year after a disappointing 2020-21 season. He’s sure to be a much happier player in 2021 with that kind of job security, but the Celtics’ options for next summer and beyond have become more limited if Smart’s deal doesn’t age in. good value. Stevens and the Boston front office are betting it won’t. However, the pressure on the team’s internal development has only grown as their most realistic path to earning a star is now through a trade.