The immediate thought when Kris Jospeh was cut was "there has to be a trade coming!" And there very well might be. In fact, I'm inclined to believe that there will be one, but not necessarily in the immediate future.
So why cut Joseph now? Why waste a 2nd round pick and give up on a guy that actually was showing some good potential in Maine? As usually is the case, follow the money.
Both Joseph and Varnado were playing on non-guaranteed contracts, and their waivers come prior to Monday’s 5 p.m. After signing Jason Terry to the mid-level exception, the Celtics are forced to adhere to the NBA’s $74.3 million hard cap. These moves save the Celtics a few hundred thousand dollars, which doesn’t sound like much, but it opens the possibility of adding a veteran minimum talent like Kenyon Martin down the road.
By our rough per-game calculation, the Celtics save about $275,000 by cutting Joseph after 33 games. That's right around what a late-season, veteran-minimum addition would cost. Considering the Celtics are hard-capped at the $74.3 million tax apron -- and roughly $71.2 million is committed to current costs -- every available dollar gives the Celtics a little bit of extra wiggle room to maneuver later in the season.
So it is about keeping flexibility. Maybe they see 1 or 2 guys out there that they like enough to bring in now or later in the season. Maybe they know that other guys will become available either this week because of similar cuts or at the trade deadline. Regardless, they have the cash free to be able to sign someone now, where before they might have been cutting it a little close.
They'll absolutely use that money - it isn't like they are pinching pennies in Waltham. It is just a question of who they'll bring in (and how they'll do it) and if it will be worth giving up on Joseph to do so. We'll see.