So this has been an interesting first day of free agency hasn't it? The Celtics added a defensive big man though it wasn't a name that we had kicked around yet. Amir Johnson is going to be a Boston Celtic and our friend Jonas Jerebko will be back as well.
Those weren't the big names that many hoped for, but a lot of those names weren't very realistic anyway. Reports indicate that the Celtics did their due diligence on some names (Kevin Love) and passed on others.
Bulpett: Celtics reel in Amir Johnson on first day of NBA free agency | Celtics Insider | | Boston Herald
It is interesting to note that, from all accounts, the Celtics have had no contact at all with several other free agents with whom they've been linked in media reports. In some of these cases, it's said to be because they are not particularly fond of the player's game, while in others it's because they've become aware the player is seeking more than they are willing to spend -- and may get it elsewhere in the open market. Whatever the reason, the Celts have not reached out to Greg Monroe, Gerald Green or Robin Lopez since the opening of the free agent negotiating period.
So where does this leave the Celtics now? For starters it probably means that Brandon Bass has played his last game for Boston. It also leaves us with a still unbalanced and overloaded roster. Signing Johnson and Jerebko also uses up a lot of the precious cap space that the team had. How much of it?
Boston is committed to roughly $61.4 million for 13 players. That doesn't include restricted free agent Jae Crowder, whose $1.2 million qualifying offer will linger on Boston's books until he signs a long-term deal or accepts another team's offer sheet. The Celtics must balance a desire to bring back Crowder at a reasonable number while maintaining enough salary flexibility to pounce should an opportunity to fetch a big-name star on the trade market moving forward. Remember, Boston's offseason philosophy has been to stay opportunistic, and by electing to go under the cap with the signing of Johnson, it is losing a bit of flexibility while picking a path.
What about Tobias Harris? Can the Celtics still make a play for him? Maybe, but it will take some maneuvering. They might have to make some trades to shed salary and they could eek out some more room by using the stretch provision on Gerald Wallace. But is Harris worth all that?
It is pretty hard to tell all when we don't know where all the rest of the pieces will fit. As of right now, the team still has the assets and flexibility to pounce if a big trade opportunity arises. Sacrificing some of those assets for Harris would be betting big on the young man.
We now know a couple of pieces of the puzzle that are in place. The rest of the picture is still too hard to make out. But the team still has options and opportunities.