Marcus Smart is going to be one of the most interesting players to watch this offseason.
According to RealGM and Celtics Blog's Keith Smith, the Boston Celtics have reportedly extended a qualifying offer to Smart, making him a restricted free agent in the process.
As a restricted free agent, Smart can sign an offer sheet with another team, but the Celtics will have the right to match the offer and retain Smart if they are so inclined.
Here's where things get interesting.
Smart has expressed a desire to remain with the Celtics, and the Celtics for their part are reportedly interested in bringing him back as well.
However, if a franchise comes in with a big money offer for Smart, there's no guarantee that the Celtics will match.
There's no question that Smart has contributed a lot to the Celtics over the past few seasons. He's never going to be an elite offensive player in the league, but defensively, he's someone any team would love to have and the effort he shows on a nightly basis is second to none.
The Celtics would be a deeper and more talented team with Smart, but if he leaves, they have players on the roster who can cover his minutes such as Terry Rozier and Semi Ojeleye. With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward also set to return, Smart may see his time on the court reduced if he chooses to stay.
Smart is a good player, and the Celtics are aware of that, but he's not someone so valuable that they should match any offer sheet another team hands to him.
A scenario wherein Smart is still wearing Celtic green by the start of next season is easy to imagine, but then again, the same thing can be said for the franchise choosing to move on from a good but significantly more expensive player.