Marc Smart wants more than $12 million-$14 million annually.
The Celtics have extended a $6,053,719 qualifying offer… and, according to one report, nothing else.
“He loves the Celtics, but with these crickets he’s hearing, he’s hurt and disgusted by it,” said the source.
“He would have thought there would have been some kind of three- to four-year deal from them to show they’re interested,” said the source. “But the qualifying offer is the only one he has received, and there’s been no talk since free agency opened. He’s most disappointed that there has been no reaching out from their end.
“He’s just hurt and frustrated that Danny hasn’t reached out. That’s the most discouraging part of this whole thing. The last contact was a few days before free agency started.”
Still, why would the Celtics leave Smart – whom they reportedly want back – twisting in the wind without even communication? Maybe they haven’t. Restricted free agents hold little leverage – especially this year – so they’re often left to desperate measures like agitating through the media.
But let’s just say Danny Ainge truly hasn’t even contacted Smart during free agency. I see two rational explanations:
1. The Celtics prefer Smart accept his qualifying offer, even if that’ll give him the ability to veto trades next season and make him an unrestricted free agent next summer. The qualifying offer is essentially the floor on his salary next season. So, Smart on his qualifying offer would minimize Boston’s luxury-tax bill.
2. The Celtics want Smart to feel the full brunt of this cold market, especially for restricted free agents, before negotiating. What might have seemed like an insultingly low offer a week ago could be welcomed by Smart later.
Boston is in control here. These anonymous quotes, taken at face value, make the team look bad. But they don’t change Boston’s advantageous position. And the quotes shouldn’t passively be taken at face value, anyway.