June 19, 2018

Celtics' Ainge: Prepared to stand pat this summer (maybe)

30 May 2018, 02:00 | Kristopher Drake

Brad Stevens perfectly describes Marcus Smart's mentality

Brad Stevens perfectly describes Marcus Smart's mentality

In addition to the difficulty of predicting when we should expect to see the 2017 NBA All-Star ready to compete at a high level, there's the uncertainty of foreseeing when Gordon will be mentally prepared to confidently push his body like he did prior to the injury.

But based on his exit interview yesterday with the Celts management team of Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens, Smart feels good about his future as a Celtic.

"To be honest, I'm worth more than 12-14 million", Smart told ESPN. We need Gordon and Kyrie, absolutely we do. If this playoff run and all the series of the playoffs didn't show that, then I don't know what does.

"I got a lot to think about".

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Smart was told many of his teammates defended his 1-for-10 shooting in an excruciating Game 7 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night by insisting he is the heart of their team. "There's a lot of factors that go into it, but that being said, I want to be in Boston, I want to be here".

That would likely mean Boston giving up one of either Irving or Hayward in a trade for the 2014 NBA Finals MVP.

Just having Tatum and Brown as fourth and fifth options is one of the most special situations in the National Basketball Association, and having those next three options give the Celtics an edge that is impossible to replicate without embracing young talent on rookie contracts like they have. "I love this city, I love this team, I love the atmosphere it gives off". "Those guys, I tip my hat to those guys". "We're not looking to make changes, other than a handful of tweaks". "He's a really good-looking guy, has his movie career", cracked the Celtics president. Ainge said the team is willing to pay the luxury tax if that's what it takes to build a contender. "He'll progress along that line slowly, and we think that he'll be playing basketball in the next couple of months". You still need another edge to separate yourself, and the Celtics know they have an opportunity to get that with their depth.

Speaking to the media, however, Ainge didn't reveal what their plans are for Smart and simply chose to praise the player for the impact he's had on the team.

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