Free agency update: Celtics' focus shifts to Smart


BOSTON – We are just hours into the free agency period and as expected, things have been relatively mum for the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics didn’t waste any time addressing one of their more pressing offseason targets in coming to terms with unrestricted free agent Aron Baynes.

Baynes, an integral fixture in Boston’s top-ranked defense a year ago at center, agreed to a two-year, $11 million deal with the Celtics that includes a player option for the second season.

The deal will provide Baynes with a pay raise of more than $1 million in comparison to the one-year, $4.3 million deal he signed with Boston last summer.

But the bigger haul for Boston remains out there, in Marcus Smart.

Some of the more competitive suitors for Smart’s services came to terms on deals quickly with other players.

The Indiana Pacers, widely believed to be one of Boston’s chief competitors for Smart, came to terms on a three-year, $22 million deal with Doug McDermott who became an unrestricted free agent when Dallas rescinded their qualifying offer to create more financial flexibility that aided them in getting a commitment from DeAndre Jordan reportedly on a one-year, $24.1 million deal.

The Brooklyn Nets and Joe Harris agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal but the Nets can put off signing him to maximize their cap space to sign other free agents courtesy of Harris’ $1.5 million hold against their cap. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Brooklyn has $6.6 million in cap space that does not include whatever additional space they’ll have after buying out Dwight Howard.

The fact that Smart did not come to terms quickly on a deal shortly after free agency began is not a surprise considering he is a restricted free agent and teams tend to commit to players they can sign outright.

As a restricted free agent, Boston has the right to match any offer Smart receives.

Two of the biggest names were off the free agency board quickly when Paul George reportedly agreed to a four-year, $137 million deal to stay in Oklahoma City and Kevin Durant came to terms on a two-year, $61.5 million deal to remain with the Golden State Warriors.

LeBron James, who opted out of his contract which would have paid him $35.6 million for this upcoming season, has not made a decision as to what team he will sign with during this offseason. He reportedly talked to Cleveland GM Koby Altman shortly after free agency began, but it's unclear if a James decision is imminent.


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