Bringing Back Smart Was an Awesome Move by Boston.

After weeks of rumors and reports surrounding restricted free agent Marcus Smart, he finally resigned on Thursday. The guard inked a four-year contract worth $52 million after spending three weeks assessing the market. This is a huge deal for Boston, who retains a key piece of the rotation, and the heart and soul of the team. It’s easily the most impactful move of the summer, and will pay dividends now and down the road. Here’s why.

His Play

Anyone who questions Marcus Smart’s value hasn’t watched the Celtics play basketball. Quite simply, he makes everyone around him better. Though his shooting needs work, especially from three, he makes up for it with his hustle plays. His contributions don’t always show up on the stat sheet, but the team knows what he’s worth, hence the contract. Just look at this tweet from ESPN Stats to see what Smart does for the Celtics:

There’s no doubt that Smart will get decent minutes for Boston this year, and rightfully so. Having him available as the first man off the bench is invaluable to the team due to his ability to play either guard position. He can also guard a wide range of positions due to his length and bothersome defense. Smart is worth every penny of this contract. And in case you needed a refresher on what he brings to the table, here’s this iconic moment from the past season.

Future Implications

Smart’s signing is also big for another reason- contracts. He is now one of just a handful of Celtics that are locked up after next season. Marcus Morris is an unrestricted free agent next summer. Terry Rozier and Daniel Theis will be restricted free agents. Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Aron Baynes all have player options on the 2019-2020 season. Horford could opt in, but Baynes is a question mark and Kyrie is likely to opt out, whether to seek more money here or at a new destination. In what’s sure to be a hectic summer, it’s nice to have one less player on the books for Danny Ainge to worry about.

Another reason why Marcus’s contract is good for Boston is that it’s not unreasonable in terms of money. He’ll average about $13 million per year, which is right about what Boston was willing to give. It also means that his contract is tradeable, should the team choose to go in that direction. If the team needs to create cap space or believes it’s over-staffed at guard, his contract won’t be terribly difficult to move. They shouldn’t look to move him (see above reasons), but if it becomes necessary, his contract makes it easier to do so.

The Bottom Line

This is an excellent signing for so many reasons. Smart is the longest-tenured Celtic on the roster, and it’s clear he loves the city. The feeling is mutual; he’s become a fan favorite in Beantown among the Boston faithful. The contract is reasonable, it locks him up for the future, and his play will help propel the Celtics to a title run this season.