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Marcus Smart's contract - lessons learned from the Allens (Tony and Ray)

 Marcus Smart will go into the final year of his 4-year deal next season, earning a team-friendly $13.8 million. Both Allens from the 2008 Championship team left the Celtics of their own accord, and there may be lessons there from the departures of Tony and Ray Allen that Danny Ainge may take into account in dealing with any new contract for Marcus.


Ainge openly lamented that he let Tony Allen walk away in the summer of 2010 to join the Memphis Grizzlies. The "Grindfather", as he was later known, admitted that he left, in part, because he felt overshadowed by Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. 

Ray Allen left the team in 2012, rejecting a 2-year, $12 million deal from the Celtics to accept a 3-year contract for $9 million with the Miami Heat. He, like Tony Allen, may have felt less-than-appreciated in Boston (per Sporting News' Sean Deveney):

Perhaps that’s where the problem started, then. In the book, Allen seems genuinely unsure of why Rondo turned on him so completely. Allen describes Rondo as a player who expected that he would be treated as a leader without having done the work to deserve the role, and describes the Celtics as an organization that could not figure out how to handle Rondo. Coach Doc Rivers asked Garnett and Allen to “let [Rondo] into the circle,” but Allen told Rivers, “We can’t make him a leader, Doc. He has to earn it.”

The locker room enclosing Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett was apparently a bit of a hotbed. And it seems that Ray, like Tony Allen, felt he didn't have enough control of outcomes. So what are the lessons as they concern Smart and his next contract?

Marcus may not be the caliber of Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, but he very well could be instrumental in the team's future success. By NBA standards, he is underpaid and needs a raise. And he needs to be taken seriously.

One other point. The present locker room may not be as inflammatory as the one surrounding the 2008 Title, but there is a quiet struggle for on-court leadership going on. The best player is Tatum - the longest-tenured is Smart - and Brown has one more year of experience over Jayson. 

I honestly doubt that this "power struggle" will take the fiery path of the post-Title clashes, but rather I envision a more-placid reckoning. But as Deveney wrote:

But in the NBA, even the thoughtful are subject to the high-school vibe of a locker room.





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