Marcus Smart will not be leaving the Boston Celtics any time soon. On Monday, the veteran guard agreed to a four-year, $77 million extension with the team, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic. Smart later made a vague tweet using shamrock emojis that seemed to confirm the news.
The No. 6 overall pick in the 2014 draft, Smart has become a vital part of this Celtics group thanks to his work on the defensive end and penchant for making sometimes outrageous hustle plays. Those same qualities, along with his efforts off the floor, have also made him a beloved figure in Boston.
With his current contract up after next season, there had been questions about his future with the team -- especially after the Celtics shook up the front office and hired Ime Udoka as the new head coach. This agreement ends any doubts and trade talks, and solidifies Smart as a core contributor for years to come.
Earlier this summer, Udoka told a Boston radio station that he views Smart as a pillar for the Celtics moving forward.
"I've spent time with all three of those guys [Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Smart]; they all bring something different to the team," Udoka said. "What Marcus brings is invaluable: he's the heart and soul of the team at times... Marcus has that edge and toughness about him. The things he brings to your team are the things you love every player to bring. You hate playing against him, but you want him on your side. He's another foundational piece. He's been here through thick and thin. He's seen the winning and seen some down times. What he does for Jayson and Jaylen is invaluable in my eyes."
After the Celtics traded Kemba Walker for Al Horford earlier this offseason, Smart is expected to begin next season as the starting point guard. Udoka said last week that the team is planning to put the ball in Smart's hands, and that he asked for the responsibility of being a playmaker around Tatum and Brown.
Smart's assist numbers have increased in each of the past three seasons, to a career-high 5.7 per game last season. He certainly has the playmaking skills to run a team, but if he's going to have the ball more often he will need to improve his shot selection, which can get a little frustrating at times.