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Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart will be a restricted free-agent this offseason, and although he loves playing in Beantown, the rugged defender knows his value around the league and wants to be compensated fairly.
After the Celtics were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday, Smart said he’s not focused on free agency at the moment, but that he’s worth more than the $12-14 million a year price tag many believe he will get from teams.
“To be honest, I’m worth more than $12-14 million,” Smart told ESPN. “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. I’m not really thinking about that right now. I don’t know [if they’ll pay me]. We’ll find out sooner than later.”
As a restricted free-agent, Smart can sign an offer sheet with another team and then the Celtics have to decide if they want to match the offer or not. Boston is resigned that Smart will opt for a bigger payday elsewhere instead of taking a hometown discount, according to a report from ESPN.
Smart averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists during the regular season. He underwent surgery in March for a torn ligament in his right thumb which limited his shooting ability during the playoffs.
“I don’t like to make excuses, but my thumb is killing me,” Smart said. “My whole right hand hurts.”
Smart could accept the Celtics’ qualifying offer and play next season making $6.1 million. If he goes that route, Smart would become an unrestricted free agent in 2019-20.