Following a whirlwind summer, the Boston Celtics are finally just about done with free agency. It’s been a long, strange trip as to how they’ve put together their roster for the 2019-20 season. There has been a lot of reporting out there on who the Celtics have signed and for how much, but little of it has been actually clear. Here’s a recap on how Danny Ainge and team have built the 2019-20 roster to this point.
Free Agents Lost
· PJ Dozier - unsigned
· Jonathan Gibson – unsigned
· Al Horford – Philadelphia 76ers
· RJ Hunter – unsigned
· Kyrie Irving – Brooklyn Nets
· Marcus Morris – New York Knicks
· Terry Rozier – Charlotte Hornets (via Sign & Trade)
· Jaylen Brown
· Gordon Hayward
· Semi Ojeleye
· Marcus Smart
· Jayson Tatum
· Robert Williams
Free Agents Re-signed
· Daniel Theis (reported)
· Brad Wanamaker (reported)
Free Agents Added
· Enes Kanter (reported)
· Vincent Poirier
· Kemba Walker
Draft Picks Added
· Carsen Edwards
· Romeo Langford
· Grant Williams
Two-Way Contracts and Exhibit 10 Contracts
· Max Strus – Two-Way (reported)
· Tremont Waters – Two-Way (reported)
· Tacko Fall – Exhibit 10/Summer Contract (reported)
As you can see, that gives Boston 14 players currently under contract. Teams are allowed to carry 15 players on standard contracts, two players on Two-Way contracts and up to three more players (for a maximum offseason amount of 20 players) until the league-wide cut-down date prior to the start of the regular season. Those last three players are generally signed to an Exhibit 10/Summer Contract. This is a fully non-guaranteed deal that can later be converted to a Two-Way contract if the team sees fit.
Who is on the roster is the easy part. Getting here took some twists and turns. Here’s how the Celtics summer played out:
1. Completed draft day trade with the Phoenix Suns: Aron Baynes and the draft rights to Ty Jerome were traded for a conditional 2020 first round pick from the Milwaukee Bucks. This Bucks pick is top-7 protected for 2020 and fully unprotected for 2021.
2. Renounced the free agent rights to P.J. Dozier, Jonathan Gibson, Al Horford, R.J. Hunter, Shane Larkin, Marcus Morris and Brad Wanamaker. (Kyrie Irving signed with Brooklyn before his rights needed to be renounced).
3. Completed double sign & trade with the Charlotte Hornets of Terry Rozier and a conditional 2020 second round pick (top-53 protected) for Kemba Walker and the less favorable of the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks 2020 second round picks.
- Walker was signed to a full max contract of four years and $140,790,600 with a player option for the 2022-2023 season.
4. Fully guaranteed Semi Ojeleye for $1.6 million
5. Waived Guerschon Yabusele. The Celtics also elected to stretch Yabusele’s $3,117,240 salary over three years at $1,039,080 through 2021-2022.
6. Signed first round picks Romeo Langford and Grant Williams to the standard 120% of the first round rookie scale amount.
7. Signed second round pick Carsen Edwards to a four-year, $6.5 million contract with a team option for the 2022-2023 season. The Celtics used cap space to give Edwards a deal longer than the two years allowed via the Minimum Exception.
8. Signed Vincent Poirier to a two-year, $4.65 million contract. Poirier was given considerably more than the league minimum deal he was expect to sign. This is perhaps an indication that he had a stronger market than originally thought.
As it stands now, those are the completed transactions. The reported transactions that are still to come:
1. Signing Enes Kanter for the full Room Exception to a contract of $9.7 million over two years with a player option for the 2020-2021 season.
2. Re-signing Daniel Theis for $10 million over two years.
3. Re-signing Brad Wanamaker for the 1-year veteran minimum of $1.4 million.
4. Filling the 15th roster spot. This could either stay open, or Boston could elect to fill it with their remaining cap space. Or this could go to an additional Exhibit 10 player.
5. Signing Max Strus and Tremont Waters to Two-Way contracts.
6. Signing Tacko Fall to an Exhibit 10 contract.
7. Signing three-to-four more players to Exhibit 10 contracts for training camp.
The reason Boston is waiting to sign Kanter (Room Exception) and to re-sign Theis (Early Bird Exception) and Wanamaker (Minimum Exception) is that all three are signing via an exception. As it stands today, the Celtics have about $1.1 million in remaining cap space. They could use that space to sign a rookie for greater than the league minimum allows (and for more than the two years the Minimum Exception allows for). Once that cap space is spent, Boston can then complete the Kanter, Theis and Wanamaker signings as an “over the cap” team.
By properly sequencing moves and using tools like various exceptions and the stretch provision, Ainge and crew have squeezed the most possible flexibility out of a summer where they added a max free agent in Kemba Walker. While losing some of the other free agents hurts, this was a nice bounce-back for Boston. They should remain a competitive team in the Eastern Conference and with some luck, a continued return to form for Gordon Hayward and development of the younger players, the Celtics could once again contend for an NBA Finals berth.