Danny Ainge claims the Celtics' number one priority is to re-sign Marcus Smart

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Six

It was recently reported that Marcus Smart is "hurt" and "disgusted" to have received no contact from the Boston Celtics regarding his free agency so far. 

The 24-year-old is a restricted free agent this summer and has always made it clear that he wants to stay with Boston. 

But he's yet to receive an offer from the franchise and is growing frustrated at how things are going. 

The Celtics, however, are prepared to bide their time and since Smart hasn't received an offer from another team, they don't need to rush into a deal. 

It's widely expected that if the point guard receives an offer sheet from elsewhere the C's will match it and tie him down to a long-term deal. 

Speaking about Smart's future, president Danny Ainge made it clear that they want to bring him back despite the lack of communication between the two parties. 

"Our priority remains the same. Our priority is still Marcus in free agency, and that's where we are," Ainge told reporters at Summer League, via ESPN's Chris Forsberg.

Interest is building

According to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports, the former Oklahoma State product is beginning to drum up serious interest from around the league. 

He reports that the Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets are two suitors for the tenacious defender. 

Smart is prioritising stability over money as he's seeking a long contract and is reportedly willing to accept a salary of less than $15 million a year to get it. 

With an expensive roster already in place and talented youngsters such as Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum set to demand big paydays in the coming years, the Celtics can't afford to splash out too much right now. 

But Ainge has made it clear that they're prepared to enter the luxury tax to put together the best possible roster. 

Boston Celtics Media Day

"It's my job to be fiscally responsible, but we will pay the tax," Ainge said. "We plan on being a taxpayer for sure."

Smart is a hugely popular figure in the Celtics locker room and Brown is one teammate who is certainly hoping to see him re-sign. 

“Marcus, what he brings to the table is second-to-none," he said, per Jay King of The Athletic. "The analytics, all of that, throw that away. What Marcus adds to a team and a franchise, everybody knows.

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"...So I would love to have Marcus on the team.”

One option the Texas native has is to sign a $6.1 million qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next summer when more teams have cap space available. 

That offer will be available to him until 1 October so we could see this drag on for another couple of months. 

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