According to a Boston.com report, the Boston Celtics have taken the first step in retaining restricted free agent Marcus Smart. 

The C's reportedly have extended a qualifying offer to the 24-year-old, which gives them the best chances to have him in their backcourt for the 2018-2019 season.

The news, which was first broke by NBA reporter Keith Smith, sets in motion Smart's offseason.

He will now have to choose whether he wants to sign an offer sheet with another team, accept the qualifying offer or work with the C's to set up a new contract that could keep him in Boston for years to come.

One key note to keep in mind is that the Celts hold the right to match any offer sheet Smart might sign with a new team, within two days of signing it.

Smart averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 54 games last season and has averaged 9.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists over his four seasons in Boston.

He has also excelled defensively for the C's, performing at a high level against some of the league's best offensive players.