It was a long and drawn-out process but the Boston Celtics finally re-signed free agent Marcus Smart to a long-term deal.
Negotiations between the two parties didn't go smoothly but they reached the outcome they both wanted.
The versatile guard signed a four-year, $52 million deal to commit his future to the team.
There was a moment when Smart didn't know if he'd ever play for the Celtics again as he expressed his "disgust" at a lack of communication from general manager Danny Ainge over a deal.
But after coming to terms with the franchise he's spent his four-year NBA career with, he couldn't his delight.
“I’m ecstatic. This is a blessing,” Smart said, per NBC Sports.
The tenacious defensive specialist has been a key player for the Celtics in recent years and they always wanted to retain his services.
He's the longest-tenured player on the roster which shows just how much he's valued.
But with a shortage of cap space, they were not prepared to go deep into the luxury tax and match any large offer he may have received from other teams as a restricted free agent.
However, Smart didn't get an offer sheet elsewhere which allowed Boston to negotiate terms that suited both parties.
The 24-year-old is just happy that he got what he wanted and they could make things work.
“To be honest, I didn’t know where I was gonna end up. I was just enjoying this whole process,” he said.
“It is a business, so things aren’t perfect. That’s why it’s called negotiations. You guys come together and you finally agree on something.
"We both agreed. Boston loves me and I love Boston. Boston wants me here and I want to be here. I am here. So we made it work.”
Ainge called it their "top priority" to bring Smart back and this now sees them retain the core of their team from last season.
Even with a lot of injuries to deal with throughout the year, the C's won 55 games and reached the Eastern Conference Finals.
“We demonstrated the talent and ability we had to do that last year with a few missing pieces," Smart said.
"With those missing pieces back in action, I think it really makes it hard for teams.
“I think we have a real shot.”
With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward set to return to full health for the start of the 2018-19 campaign, they are installed as the favourites to win the east now that LeBron James has departed.
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