After acquiring Tyler Zeller and Marcus Thornton in a three-way trade with Brooklyn and Cleveland, the Boston Celtics now have 17 players on the roster. With a maximum of 15 players allowed there is no doubt that more moves are on the way for the Celtics. But to keep you updated with how the roster looks right now, here is the latest roster reset:
As of now, the Boston Celtics are over the projected tax line of $77 million, though they will easily get under that number by simply releasing Keith Bogans and his nonguaranteed contract of $5.3 million, though it's more likely that he'll be used in a trade in some form or another.
With Phil Pressey, Chris Johnson, and Chris Babb having nonguaranteed contracts, it's fair to assume that at least one of them will be cut, with Babb appearing to be the most likely candidate. Boston has loads of committed money ahead of Babb and Johnson on the depth chart, so someone will have to go at some point.
With four expiring contracts (Rondo, Thornton, Bass, and Anthony), Boston will have over $32 million coming off the books in 2015, putting them in a prime position to make blockbuster moves, just like they are this summer.
However, many fans don't want to hear about the money, as they care more about the breakdown of the talent on the team. With that said, how does the roster look as it stands? Here's a projected depth chart:
|C/PF||Tyler Zeller||Jared Sullinger||Joel Anthony|
|PF/C||Brandon Bass||Kelly Olynyk||Vitor Faverani|
|SF||Jeff Green||Gerald Wallace||Chris Johnson||Keith Bogans|
|SG||Avery Bradley||Marcus Thornton||James Young||Chris Babb|
|PG||Rajon Rondo||Phil Pressey||Marcus Smart|
Looking at the roster, Boston is stacked in the backcourt, with six legitimate players, making Babb the odd-man out. Rondo and Bradley will certainly start if the roster stays in tact, and the rotation of Thornton, Pressey, and Smart makes for a solid grouping depending on who Brad Stevens wants to ride on a particular night.
Even though Thornton had the worst year of his career in 2014, he did show signs of life with Brooklyn and could make an impact off the bench as a scoring sparkplug. If he sticks, Boston won't have to rush things with Marcus Smart or James Young either, allowing them to ease into the NBA instead of being thrown into the fire.
After the trade, the situation at small forward remains very much the same; Green and Wallace stay in their current roles, with players like Johnson and even Young sharing some time off the bench.
Things get complicated when looking at the big man rotation. Even though Zeller is a relatively talented offensive player, he doesn't bring the rim protection Boston is looking for out of a center. He's probably a better overall player than both Sullinger and Olynyk, which is why he gets the starting nod on the depth chart, but it's hard to see them going into the year with that role unless they're unable to make another move.
With Boston's sights set on Kevin Love, it wouldn't be surprising if Sullinger or Olynyk are included in the deal, along with Bass and/or Anthony. This would free up playing time and allow the rotation to settle in. But even then, the Celtics would lack a rim protector for the second year in a row.
Whether or not Love is acquired, if Boston is looking to compete it's easy to see them looking to make a move to sign someone like Jordan Hill or trade for a star rim protector like Larry Sanders.
One player who wasn't included in the breakdown above is Colton Iverson, who has struggled thus far in Summer League. With Zeller now in the fold, it appears unlikely that he will make the roster unless one of the aforementioned trades are completed to open up roster spots.
All in all, Boston will need to make some moves in order to cut their roster down to 15 players, get under the luxury tax, and to better balance the roster. Stay tuned because the summer is just getting started; maybe the fireworks are on their way, too.