The Celtics boasted a brutally efficient preseason. Carsen Edwards finished among the best true shooters in the league. Boston won every game, and they can thank the bottom of the roster for sealing games through one of the most intense final roster battles we’ve seen.
Javonte Green reportedly emerged from that battle victorious. Despite the Celtics converting Max Strus to a NBA deal in a roster shuffle to retain Tacko Fall, Green will likely claim the 15th roster spot, according to Shams Charania.
In his NBA news and notes today, Charania noted the momentum is in Green’s court:
Guard Javonte Green is emerging as the likely winner of the training camp battle for the Celtics’ open roster spot, league sources said. The Celtics signed Green to a partially guaranteed deal and he is the leader to earn the spot over Max Strus, who signed a partially guaranteed, two-year deal last weekend.
Boston notoriously loves hosting a battle at the bottom of the roster in the preseason. In this age of two-way contracts, they settled Fall and Tremont Waters’ status before their final 15. Far below the luxury tax, they were able to eat some money to see what they had between Green, Strus and others.
The Celtics offered Green $100,000 guaranteed to join the training camp battle, and he immediately exploded. While fans showered Fall in ovations, Green cemented a comeback win over the Hornets in the preseason opener. He flushed six monstrous dunks and hut a three on the wing to finish the game 7-for-7. Through three games, he made all 10 attempts.
Initially, it appeared that Green and Fall would battle for the final spot. The Celtics then signed Strus to a two-year deal, with a $415,000 guarantee in the first year and a non-guaranteed second year. Strus clarified the move came with no such certainty of making the team.
Strus sat quietly through Green’s initial offensive outburst. He emerged in the first Cavaliers game, entering late to drill 4-of-6 from three off Waters’ passing. The late burst likely won’t be enough for him to stick around.
The Celtics’ guarantees, while effectively giving them options, doesn’t bode well to keeping the 18th man around. G-League rules prevent players guaranteed over $50,000 by an NBA team from rejoining that team on an affiliate deal. That made it impossible for Green or Strus to join Maine after the competition.
It’s unclear now how Boston will settle that roster move once they make the final decision. If they slash Strus outright, he’ll join Guerschon Yabusele and Demetrius Jackson as roughly $1.5-million dead salary — still leaving Boston over $10-million below the luxury tax. They could also opt to trade Strus to a team with room.
NBA rosters set for opening night on Monday at 5 p.m. EST.