NBA Rumors: Latest on Marcus Smart Contract, Pascal Siakam Trade, LiAngelo Ball

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2021

NBA Rumors: Latest on Marcus Smart Contract, Pascal Siakam Trade, LiAngelo Ball

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Marcus Smart is staying in Boston following a max contract extension that keeps the fan favorite with the Celtics for the foreseeable future.

    The guard's signing was the latest blockbuster deal in an offseason full of them, and while it looked like Toronto's Pascal Siakam may be the next star player to make waves, it appears as though he will return to a Raptors franchise with whom he won the 2019 NBA Championship.

    Smart and Siakam may be staying put but what about LiAngelo Ball, who has commanded attention for his play in this year's NBA Summer League?

    Might the brother of Lonzo and LaMelo stick with the Hornets based on his performance in Las Vegas or will he have to continue his development elsewhere?

    Dive deeper into each of these situations with this collection of NBA rumors.

Boston Holds onto Marcus Smart with Max Extension

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    The Boston Celtics and Marcus Smart have agreed to a max contract extension worth $77.1 million, according to Shams Charnia. The deal is fully guaranteed through the 2025-26 season and does include a trade kicker.

    However, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski added that the deal features no player option.

    Jayson Tatum took to Twitter to congratulate his teammate, exclaiming, "Happy for my dawg!"

    Smart, 27, averaged his most minutes (32.9), points per game (13.1) and assists (5.7) in the 2020-21 season, making him a valuable part of Boston's playoff push. While the team did not fare well in the postseason, it recognized the guard's contributions and took steps to ensure he remains in green and white for the foreseeable future.

    The Celtics have never missed the playoffs in Smart's seven years with the squad. Given the vastly improving Eastern Conference, including Brooklyn, Chicago and Miami, it was imperative Boston held onto one of its brightest players.

Is Pascal Siakam Leaving Toronto?

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    Scott Audette/Getty Images

    Despite reports to the contrary, Sam Amick of The Athletic noted Pascal Siakam wants to stay in Toronto with the Raptors.

    "[In] stark contrast to the Ben Simmons situation in Philadelphia or the Damian Lillard saga in Portland, it appears there is no uncomfortableness or pressure on the Siakam front, in large part, because sources say he still wants to be in Toronto, especially after being away for a season while playing in Tampa," he wrote.

    The suggestion that Siakam may not return to the organization came amid the departure of Kyle Lowry and what appeared to be a team preparing for a rebuild rather than chasing for a second NBA title.

    Team president Masai Ujira put an end to that speculation, though, according to Amick's report.

    "Sources say Ujiri has recently made it clear to Siakam's side that he's not being shopped, and that there's a clear basketball vision here for how these pieces—old and new—can work."

    General manager Bobby Weaver told TSN 1050's OverDrive (h/t The Score): "Don't put a ton of stock in the rumors; obviously it's the teams who want him that are trying to drum things up."

    Siakam averaged over 21 points per game, 7.2 total rebounds and a career high in assists in 2020-21. Despite a shoulder injury, he figures to be Toronto's star scorer net season and a player around whom the offense revolves.

    The 27-year-old should be key in the development of rookie forward Scottie Barnes, who has already drawn comparisons with Siakam from head coach Nick Nurse. 

Latest on LiAngelo Ball

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    LiAngelo Ball's work ethic and play during the Summer League has impressed Charlotte Hornets officials greatly, according to Jordan Schultz of ESPN.

    The 22-year-old has averaged 17.4 minutes per game, 9.6 points, 37.5 percent from the floor and 34.5 percent from beyond the arc. 

    It is the work ethic and character he has displayed while accomplishing those numbers that have encouraged the coaching staff, though.

    "Great kid. Love him. He was at the facility practicing everyday for two months to play in the Summer League. Shows a ton of character. He can shoot it, great feel, knack for scoring," Hornets assistant coach Jay Triano told Schultz.

    If Ball wants to make it onto an NBA roster and contribute in a substantial way, he must develop into more than just a catch-and-shoot player. While scoring has never been a problem, his inability to evolve on the move has held him back from finding a place to call home in the NBA. 

    That his brother is the face of the Hornets franchise may bode well for him, as does his selfless efforts to put in the work whenever he can to improve himself. That might have to be in the G League for now, but if Ball can shore up that one weakness, he should find himself on an NBA roster.