The Celtics front office was very busy today. They made several roster moves, but most of them have been known about for weeks.
Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko officially signed weeks ago but the team waited until the rest of the transactions were complete to introduce them to the fans. That seems fitting since all the moves this summer essentially added or maintained depth for Brad Stevens's squad.
The David Lee trade was made official today (so long Gerald Wallace and Chris Babb). The Jae Crowder signing was finally made official as well. Last week Perry Jones III was acquired. All five were presented to the fans in a press conference today.
It sounds as if Zoran Dragic will either be waived or traded, so don't look for him to be introduced as a Celtic any time soon. Essentially that deal was made to pick up a future 2nd rounder in exchange for nothing (the Heat are even paying for his salary).
In order to make all of these moves, Danny Ainge and assistant cap specialist Mike Zarren needed to time their moves so that they could maximize the cap space that was available.
"If you look at the end of last year, we have gotten better," Crowder said. "As of right now, we've gotten better as a team. We just have to put some stuff together and find out what works, because we have a lot of pieces. We have to find out what works. I'm sure Brad [Stevens] and our coaching staff will do a great job with that and I'm looking forward to it." Added Crowder: "I don't think we're going to go backwards. I think we're in the right direction moving forward. That's to win playoff games like Danny [Ainge] said, and we didn't do that last year. So that's our next goal. We're taking steps. Of course we want Banner 18, but at the same time we have to win a playoff game first before we get to Banner 18. I think we're moving in the right direction."
Ainge currently has 17 guaranteed contracts on the roster. He deflected questions about additional moves that he could make and generally sounded content to head into training camp and see how things play out. Obviously before the end of camp he'll have to cut the roster down to 15.
As I mentioned, Dragic is not likely going to be around for long. Then it becomes a matter of seeing who wins the competition for the last roster spot. A 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 trade would certainly make the problem moot, but so far nothing has materialized that Ainge has wanted to pull the trigger on. So we wait and see how this will all play out.
It certainly feels like the roster is crowded with a lot of pretty-good to very-good players. That's a good problem to have but one that Brad Stevens will be charged with figuring out going forward.
Putting aside any shoes that may or may not drop, I'm looking forward to seeing how this group of players (new and old) meshes together this year.
This is what your Celtics roster looks like at the moment. Training camp will be one heck of a competition. pic.twitter.com/UPj97lYX3M— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 27, 2015