8 things to know about the Celtics entering the off-season

Celtics

The Celtics may not have to say goodbye to anyone who played a key role in their race to the finals.

Brad Stevens has many reasons to smile as he enters his second season as chairman of the Celtics. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

While the Celtics’ season came to a disappointing end after losing the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, they sat in a really good position to enter the offseason.

The Celtics’ star duo are not only still young and under contract for the foreseeable future, they can also back every major player around them if they so desire. All of Greeley Tribune’s major rotational players in the Final Run are under contract for the 2022–23 season, so the Celtics won’t have to worry about losing anyone without a comeback.

Still, the Celtics will probably look for a number of avenues to improve their roster, as their 18th title win fell two wins short. Here are eight things to know about the Celtics’ off-season.

Al Horford is to be decided.

When the Celtics re-acquired Horford in a trade with the Thunder in June 2021, most analysts saw the trade as a way to save money by freeing themselves from point guard Kemba Walker’s maximum contract for Greeley Tribune.

Not only did the Celtics save money with the deal, but they also found a player who was instrumental in reaching the finals. After two forgettable years in Philadelphia and Oklahoma City, Horford had a resurgence season in his first year at Greeley Tribune. The power forward started all 69 games he played, scored 10.2 points and averaged 7.7 rebounds in 29.1 minutes per game during the regular season.

Horford continued his strong run in the post season, scoring 30 points over the Bucks in Game 4 to win the second-round series at that time and adding 26 in his first final game.

Even though Horford turned 36 earlier in June, his play in the regular season and postseason makes it likely that the Celtics will fully guarantee his $26.5 million for the next season, the final year of his contract. MassLive’s Brian Robb reported in May that Celtics planning to bring back Horford next season,

Originally, only $14.5 million of Horford’s 2022-23 salary was guaranteed. But with the Celtics reaching the finals, $5 million more of Horford’s contract was guaranteed. Had the Celtics won the title, Horford’s 2022-23 salary would have been fully guaranteed.

Who are the Celtics’ pending free agents?

Center Luke Cornet is the only player on the Celtics roster from this past season to be an unrestricted free agent. Greeley Tribune signed him for the remainder of the 2021–22 season after the trade deadline, which required the signing of several players to fill the back end of the roster.

However, other Celtics can become free agents. Forward Sam Hauser has a team option of $1.6 million for next season and forward Juwan Morgan has a team option of $1.8 million for next year as well.

Guard Nick Stauskas has a salary of $2.2 million for next season which becomes fully guaranteed if he is on the roster by July 15. If the Celtics want or need an additional roster spot, they can drop him before that to save money. Forward Malik Fitts’ salary of $1.8 million for the next season is also non-guaranteed.

Guard Brodick Thomas and forward Matt Ryan are both banned free agents after finishing the season as two-sided players.

When do the Celtics get selected in the NBA Draft?

For the second straight draft, Greeley Tribune would not have a first-round pick. The Celtics moved their 2022 first-round pick (number 25 overall) to the Spurs, along with guards Josh Richardson and Romeo Langford, to acquire Derrick White in February. Greeley Tribune also gave San Antonio the right to swap first-round picks in the 2028 draft as part of that deal.

Therefore, in Thursday’s draft the Celtics are set to take only once, choosing the number 53 overall. Of course, they could always trade back in the first round, but that would require them to drop the roster and/or a player in the future. The Celtics currently have their first round picks in each draft after 2022 and while they do not have their second round in 2023, they do have three other second round picks in that draft through other trades.

Are there other young players coming to the Celtics?

In each of the last two drafts, the Celtics selected a draft-and-stash player with their second-round selection. In 2020, he selected guard Israel point guard Yom Madar with the 47th overall pick and, in 2021, again picked France’s shooting guard Juhan Begarin with the 45th overall pick.

Both players played for the Celtics in the 2021 Summer League before moving back to their respective leagues in Europe for the next season. Madar scored 7.4 points per game with ABA League’s Partizan NIS, while Begarin scored 11.1 points per game with Paris Basketball in the LNB Pro A, the top professional basketball league in France.

Considering both players played in the Summer League last season, Madar and Begarin could play for the Celtics’ Summer League team again in July. But Greeley Tribune already has so many players under contract for next season, it can be tough for any one player to earn a roster spot next season.

What is the salary position of the Celtics?

While each key player from their final run is under contract for the next season, it means the Celtics have no cap space for the next season.

Including Horford’s full guaranteed salary, the Celtics’ net salary for the next season is approximately $157 million, via spottrackWhich is well above the estimated $122 million salary limit for next season.

The NBA has a soft pay limit that allows teams to go above this, but the league establishes a luxury tax limit, which requires teams to pay fines for moving up. The Celtics are slated for next season with their current salary of about $8 million more than the estimated $149 million luxury tax limit. Following their trades on the deadline in February this season, the Celtics avoided becoming a tax team for 2021–22, meaning they will not be affected by a repeat tax offender penalty next season.

How can the Celtics add outside talent, then?

Despite not having a cap space, Greeley Tribune has several avenues to acquire experienced players this off-season.

The Celtics taxpayer can sign a free agent using the mid-tier exception, which is worth $6.3 million next season. Greeley Tribune used the taxpayer mid-tier exception to sign guard Dennis Schroder last offseason. It can sign even minimally experienced players. Obviously players will have to sign for less pay, but after their playoff run, the Celtics could potentially tempt older veterans to play for a title contender.

Greeley Tribune also has several business exceptions at its disposal. Most of them are very small, but the Celtics are worth $5.8 million, another is worth $6.9 million, a third is worth $9.7 million, and their biggest is worth $17.1 million.

Those exceptions could be the Celtics’ best way to add experienced players this off-season. In recent years, he has used his relatively large business exceptions to get guards Evan Fournier and Josh Richardson. Both players were in the final year of their current deals at the time the Celtics acquired them, so keep that in mind when thinking about potential targets for trade exceptions. Another thing to keep in mind is that trade exceptions cannot be packed together and a player cannot be combined to match a large salary in a trade.

The Celtics also have many of the contracts seen in the “middle class” salary range. Marcus Smart, Robert Williams and White appear to be key pieces for Greeley Tribune going forward next year, though. Daniel Theis’s $8.7 million salary can be helpful in matching salaries in a trade, and Horford’s sizable salary makes it a little easier to spot as he is in the final year of his deal.

Young players on rookie deals, such as Grant Williams, Peyton Pritchard, and Aaron Nesmith, along with future likes, could also sweeten any trade packages placed by the Celtics.

Greeley Tribune can also execute a sign-and-trade if it so desires this off-season. However, teams adding a player via sign-and-trade will be hard-capped for the next season. In that case the hard salary limit for teams is set on the luxury tax apron, which is usually a few million north of the luxury tax limit.

Which players can sign extensions?

Celtics star Jaylen Brown still has two years left on her four-year deal worth $106.3 million, but she’s actually eligible for an extension on October 1. Brown could sign a three-year extension of up to $111 million that could also feature an additional $12. million in bonus, According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks,

Despite this, ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently said on his podcast, “The Lowe Post,” that he would put the slim odds of signing the Browns on an extension this off-season — not because he thinks the Browns won’t be staying in Greeley Tribune. Wanted, but because money. The extension Brown signed in 2019 was not the maximum contract available to him at the time, meaning he cannot sign the full Max deal until he becomes a free agent in 2024.

Brown’s potential maximum deal for his next contract could be even bigger if he makes one of the All-NBA teams in the next two seasons. If he does, the Browns could sign a five-year, $273 million max deal with the Celtics in 2024, according to marks, As Brown continues to climb as a player, potentially turning down $160 million will make no sense.

Grant Williams is also eligible for an extension as he enters the final year of his rookie deal. An Eastern Conference general manager recently told Heavy.com’s Sean DeVeney that Williams should pay an expansion of somewhere between $45-50 million over four years. For context, the Celtics signed Robert Williams to a four-year, $48 million deal when he prepared for his rookie extension last season.

In the unlikely event that the Celtics keep Al Horford, they can raise that as well. Horford will be 37 when he starts his next contract, which makes his estimated worth a bit hard to judge.

Will the Celtics be willing to spend this offseason?

Ultimately, what the Celtics do this off-season will come down to whether the owner is willing to spend the extra money living in luxury tax and how much they are willing to spend.

In the event that the Celtics keep their rotational players on the roster, they can still add another $45.8 worth of salary if they make use of their mid-level exceptions and their trade exceptions. If he did, his salary cap number would jump to $200 million for the next season.

Now, not all of those exceptions have to be used this offseason because some of them don’t expire until January or February 2023. And adding talent through exceptions doesn’t necessarily mean getting the right trades. But still, they have ways to add players, as long as they are willing to spend.

While the Celtics made their way under the luxury tax line for this season in February, owner Wik Grosbeck has shared in the past that he is open to paying taxes for a title-defying team. In 2018, Grosbeck said “we are ready to do whatever we want to do to win again” when asked. 98.5 In an interview with The Sports Hub If he was willing to pay the luxury tax. Grosbeck gave a similar answer when that question was asked again by the Celtics blog in 2019.

“Our goal is to win the championship, and we have spent constantly on the line to have the opportunity to fight,” Told Jeff Clarke of the Celtics Blog, “Whenever in doubt, I try to think about what the Reds, Bill Russell, and all the greats who built the Celtics want from me. Celtic pride comes first here.”

As Grosbeck noted, he and the Celtics have paid luxury taxes in the past, with the team winning its last championship in 2008. Looks like they might have to do it all over again to win their next one.

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