After striking out on landing Chicago’s Zach LaVine, the Sacramento Kings have their eyes set on trying to sign another restricted free agent – Boston’s Marcus Smart.
The 6-foot-4 guard has reportedly been upset and bothered by the lack of attention being paid to him by the Boston Celtics, well aware they will have a chance to match any offer received by Smart.
NBCSN Boston: Blakely: Kings preparing offer for Marcus Smart
Sacramento is the last threat sign Marcus Smart in a market that’s seen restricted free agent money quickly dry up. The Chicago Bulls matched their huge offer for Zach LaVine, which means the Kings have an opportunity to make Smart a big offer.
The question now, really, is how big an offer will they make? Will this be a classic case of a team reaching to overpay a second choice in the hopes of demonstrating to their fan base they’ve done something with their offseason?
Teams have to offer two-year deals (not counting option years) to restricted free agents. If they wanted to give Smart a big one-year payday, they could do a wink-wink deal with him that guarantees him big money in year one and a mostly non-guaranteed second year with a trigger date before free agency that allows both side to move on.
The Boston Celtics may be willing to match most offers, so the Kings deal would have to be significant if they want to get Smart to sign the offer sheet.
This is where it gets dicey. Most restricted free agents are overpaid because that’s what it takes to scare teams off. A Kings offer to Smart would likely follow that same trend, putting Boston in a tough position. Do they value him so highly that they’ll match an overpay?
As much as I love Marcus Smart, I’m inclined to say they shouldn’t. NBA history is littered with bad matched RFA deals. Boston is in a tough spot financially and has to walk a tightrope of fiscal prudence, team chemistry, and overall talent. There may be branches on this tree that need to be pruned for the rest of it to grow properly.
It’d be painful to lose Smart, but it’d be more painful if Smart’s contract was the reason other, bigger moves couldn’t happen.
We’re getting into the real grind of this negotiation. This might not go the way fans want.