Smart ‘ecstatic’ to be back with Celtics

After officially signing his four-year deal to remain with the Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart says he’s “ecstatic” to be back with the franchise and ready for what appears to be a special year for the team.

Smart signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the Celtics. It wasn’t a smooth process for the rugged defender, as Smart and his camp didn’t hear from Boston for quite a while after free agency started on July 1.

Smart met with the Brooklyn Nets in Las Vegas during summer league. The Nets and Memphis Grizzlies reached out to the Celtics inquiring about a possible sign-and-trade scenario for Smart.

The Celtics finally contacted Smart’s agent in the last couple of days and negotiations picked up from there.

“To be honest, I didn’t know where I was gonna end up,” Smart said. “I was just enjoying this whole process. It is a business, so things aren’t perfect. That’s why it’s called negotiations. You guys come together and you finally agree on something. We both agreed. Boston loves me and I love Boston. Boston wants me here and I want to be here. I am here. So we made it work. I’m ecstatic. This is a blessing.”

Smart averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists this past regular season. He underwent surgery in March for a torn ligament in his right thumb.

The Celtics lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, but were without stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. With Irving and Hayward expected to be healthy this season, Smart says Boston has a good shot at reaching the NBA Finals.

“We demonstrated the talent and ability we had to do that last year with a few missing pieces,” Smart said. “With those missing pieces back in action, I think it really makes it hard for teams to stop us. I think we have a real shot.”