So many conversations about Marcus Smart begin and end with his decision to pass on the opportunity to play in the NBA this season, and seemingly everybody has an opinion about how that decision either did or did not cost him money.

Problem is, the topic isn't nearly as simple as most try to make it.

An intelligent man, I'm certain, could explain in great detail that, regardless of what happens going forward, Smart absolutely cost himself money by returning to Oklahoma State because he's not currently making the roughly $4 million that he'd be making if he had entered last June's NBA Draft. That's 12 months of earning that he'll never get back, and Smart will now be a year older than he would've otherwise been when he gets his second professional contract, and, well, you get the point. So, yeah, Smart might've cost himself some money. On the other hand, how many marketing opportunities is Smart creating with this season of college basketball? He's now a household name and undeniable star who will enter the NBA with the kind of fame that could bring millions of dollars in the form of endorsement deals that wouldn't have been there for him had he left school after one season. So it's theoretically possible that this second year of playing in the Big 12 for something less than a salary is actually better for Smart's long-term portfolio.

In other words, who knows?

Smart might've cost himself money.

Or maybe he didn't cost himself a penny at all.

Again, who knows? Also: who cares?

"These are times you don't get back," Smart said. "What I'm doing now is priceless."