It was announced in late July that Evan Turner had agreed to terms with the Celtics. The terms haven't announced but it is believed to be a 2 year deal for a portion of the Mid Level Exception (so it will be less than $5M per year). For some reason, however, the deal has yet to be officially announced.
Make no mistake, Evan Turner will be on the Celtics next year. That's happening. Back in early August Gary Washburn provide a brief explanation about why the deal wouldn't be finalized for "the next few weeks."
An NBA source said the Celtics are working to clear roster space over the next few weeks in order to make room for Evan Turner in the rotation. The Celtics aren’t expected to announce the signing until those moves are made, although the sides have reached an agreement. The Celtics have 18 players on their roster, including the nonguaranteed deals of Keith Bogans, Chris Babb, and Chris Johnson.
That sounds logical, but as the weeks pass I can't help but wonder why the deal hasn't been finished yet.
First of all it needs to be clarified that the Celtics don't need to free up a roster spot. They can have over 15 players under contract right up until the end of preseason. So this is more about the money and timing than it is about the roster spots themselves.
If the team had already decided to cut loose Bogans and one of the other non-guaranteed players, then it would be done already. That said, the fact that they haven't done so doesn't mean that they won't go that route. They are just keeping their options open for a minor trade at some point.
Here are some options that the team has in front of them.
1) Mid-major deal: Trading Jeff Green or even Brandon Bass might shake up the roster a bit. The Celtics might need one or more of the non-guaranteed guys to match salaries or make room under the cap to absorb more short term salary. This seems unlikely at this point but you never know.
2) Paper-clip deal: In case you haven't heard, this guy named Kevin Love is likely to be traded to the Cavs in the next week or so. A deal that big sometimes requires additional teams to get involved and participate to make all the dollars work and make everyone happy. The Celtics have already dealt with the Cavs once this offseason in a deal that helped them clear cap space. I wound't be too shocked to see Ainge involved in some way in this trade as well, even if it is simply sending non-guaranteed guys out in exchange for an expiring contract and another draft pick.
3) Flotsam for jetsam deal: Ainge frequently finds creative ways to waive players without actually having to waive them. Last year around this time he traded Fab Melo (and cash) for Donte Greene and waived Greene him a few days later. In other deals Ainge has traded Luke Harangody, Semih Erden, Marquis Daniels, Sam Cassell, and Patrick O'Bryant in separate deals that netted us several heavily protected 2nd round picks that are still listed in our "picks owed" but will never be exercised. Usually there's some kind of (minor) cap rationale for these deals but the bottom line is that if Ainge can save some room under the cap by making a trade instead of simply cutting someone, he'll do it.
4) Trade exception deal: A trade exception from the Pierce trade netted us Tyler Zeller and a first round pick this summer. We've already got another one from the Kris Humphries deal. If we're just going to waive Bogans, why not trade him to a team with cap space, send them some money for the trouble of actually waiving the guy, and create a new trade exception? Then we don't have to pay him this season but we still retain the option of using his salary slot in a trade during the year.
5) Keep it simple: If none of the above turns up, Ainge still has the option of waiving Bogans which would make enough room for the team to sign Turner. They could make the final cuts after preseason to get down to the 15 man roster.
6) Fireworks: Obviously if anything big happens (involving cashing in chips or sending out Rondo or whatever) then all bets are off and flexibility is valuable.
Bottom line: This probably means nothing, but I wouldn't be too surprised if Danny Ainge made some kind of move before training camp opens.