As the NBA season chugs along into its second full month, there are some important dates looming on the calendar, both for the league as a whole and the Boston Celtics. Below are some key dates to keep in mind as we move forward.
· 12/15/16 – Players who were signed over the summer (before 9/15/16) are eligible to traded
o Importance to Boston: For teams that have buyer’s remorse, they could be looking to move players they signed this summer. Given Danny Ainge’s apparent desire to make a deal, this is the first big trade window to open up.
· 12/23/16 – Last day to acquire a player and trade him again in combination with another player
o Importance to Boston: This one is a little confusing. If the Celtics make a trade and finish over the cap because of that trade, the players they acquire can’t be combined with another player for two months. Given how tight Boston is against the cap, this would be a likely occurrence. This date isn’t really expected to come into play, as the Celtics would likely keep anyone they acquire at this point in the year.
· 1/5/17 – 10 Day Contracts can be signed
o Importance to Boston: If the Celtics free up a roster spot (or two) in a trade, they could look to fill it with call-ups from the D-League on 10-Day Contracts. 10-Day Contracts are great for trying out players you aren’t certain can stick in the NBA.
· 1/10/17 – All contracts become fully guaranteed
o Importance to Boston: The Celtics are currently carrying 15 fully guaranteed contracts, so there is little impact to them.
· 1/15/17 – Tyler Zeller becomes eligible to be traded
o Importance to Boston: Because of the somewhat unique circumstances under which Zeller (full explanation courtesy of Larry Coon here), he can’t be traded until the above date. Given that he carries a salary of $8 million this year, he’s a nice piece for matching salary. And his fully non-guaranteed contract next year is a boon for a team that would acquire him as a de facto expiring contract.
· 2/1/17 – First Round picks playing outside the NBA may sign a Rookie Scale Contract for 2017-18.
o Importance to Boston: Ante Zizic and Guerschon Yabusele are never far from the thoughts of Celtics fans, despite being thousands of miles away. Given the desire of many to see both in green next year, this is the earliest possible date that these players could be locked into deals.
· 2/17/17 – 2/19/19 – NBA All-Star Weekend
o Importance to Boston: Does Isaiah Thomas make a repeat appearance as an All-Star? Is Al Horford representing Boston for the first time? Jaylen Brown could be in the Rising Stars game as well.
· 2/23/17 – NBA Trade Deadline
o Importance to Boston: Danny Ainge has pulled off a deal or two around the deadline before. Does he have something big up his sleeve this season too?
· 3/1/17 – Playoff Eligibility Deadline
o Importance to Boston: Depending on where the roster stands, the Celtics could be candidates to pick up a player on what is commonly called the “Buyout Market”. These are generally veterans looking to join a contender for the stretch run.
· 4/15/17 – Playoffs Begin
o Importance to Boston: Hopefully the Celtics are taking the first step on the path towards Banner 18!
· 4/23/17 – NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline
o Importance to Boston: Given the high hopes for the pick that Boston can swap with the Nets, this date is important to see which underclassmen and under-22 overseas players are entering the 2017 NBA Draft.
· 5/16/17 – NBA Draft Lottery
o Importance to Boston: Does lottery luck shine on the Celtics for the first time ever and deliver the top pick in the draft courtesy of Brooklyn?
· 6/1/17 – NBA Finals Begins
o Importance to Boston: You call it being a homer. I call it blind faith and optimism. Let’s get Banner 18!
· 6/12/17 – NBA Draft Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline
o Importance to Boston: Who is staying in the draft that came out early for the Celtics to draft? Thanks Billy King!
· 6/22/17 – 2017 NBA Draft
o Importance to Boston: Let’s cash in on another Nets pick, shall we?