Celtics are converting 7-foot-6 rookie Tacko Fall to a two-way contract, league sources tell ESPN. He will spend most of his season developing with G-League affiliate Maine, but can spend up to 45 days with Celtics in NBA.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 13, 2019
The deal keeps Fall around to excite crowds for two more games, before Fall will spend most of the season with the Maine Red Claws. He can join the Celtics’ roster for 45 days alongside Tremont Waters, who holds the other deal.
Fall drew massive ovations in both Boston and Orlando for his debut with the Celtics. Through it all, he embraced the fame with humility, while Brad Stevens continues to stress Fall’s personality. His teammates pulled him from the bench into the Magic game and waved towels while standing through his 14 minutes.
He flushed two shots late against the Hornets during the Celtics’ comeback win. His pair of blocks sent TD Garden into playoff-like hysteria, while Javonte Green flushed dunk contest-worthy slams. The Magic opted to double team Fall, which he passed out of twice into scores to finish a blowout C’s victory.
The appeal of a 7’5” prospect, with one of the longest wingspans in NBA history, proved too much to pass up on. With his popularity, friendship with Enes Kanter, intelligence and coachability, the move to keep him around did not stun many.
Boston’s method to maintain him came as the real surprise. Max Strus confirmed to the Boston Globe that he inked a full NBA deal, finalizing the Celtics roster at 15 players and a pair of two-ways. The deals likely box-out Green from making the Celtics in anything beside an affiliate contract.
A wrinkle then emerged. Strus signed a two-year deal, partially-guaranteed for the first and non-guaranteed for the second year. It seemingly gives the Celtics flexibility to maintain an open battle for the final roster spot, while settling the Fall discussion. Fall had been on an Exhibit 10 deal that gave him the option to sign elsewhere.
Danny Ainge can afford to let Strus go if Green surpasses him. Green shot 9-for-9 with 19 points around the rim in the first two games. Strus is 0-for-3, but has stood out at practice. Since Green earned $100,000 guaranteed by join Boston, Boston will eat money somewhere.
Fall’s camp maintained their leverage throughout the discussion. It pointed toward a desire to secure a full-time deal, but the Celtics and them likely decided both benefit from a developmental season.
The tape so far shows a mobile 310-pounder, who can catch the ball inside and finish. He shot a three in practice, but does not appear ready for real NBA minutes. Daniel Theis, Robert Williams, Vincent Poirier, Grant Williams and Kanter all currently surpass him.
He’ll have free minutes in Maine though. With crowd likely to make the camp and a talented group in camp, it’ll likely drive Celtics fans in northern New England to Portland and even from Boston north via I-95 to see him play.
Two-way deals pay $79,568, a bump above regular G-League salaries. Most players earn roughly half of that total. Fall will also receive payment for each NBA game he appears in.