Per a report from Jared Weiss of The Athletic, the Boston Celtics are opting out of the proposed NBA G-League bubble for the 2020-21 season:
The Celtics are opting out of the NBA’s preliminary plans for a G-League bubble, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA.— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) December 6, 2020
Details on the league’s planning stage, impact on Exhibit 10 contracts and what this means for the Maine Red Claws: https://t.co/7BzK6IFKjK
This report means that the Maine Red Claws (the Celtics G-League affiliate) may not play during the 2020-21 season.
Due to COVID-19, the NBA and the G-League are currently discussing a proposal to play a 12-game regular season, followed by a tournament. This set of games would take place in Atlanta. Similar to the bubble that the NBA set up and hosted at Walt Disney World to complete the 2019-20 season, G-League teams would live in a campus-style environment and would play all of their games at a single-site location.
The direct impact to the Celtics, should the organization follow through on skipping the bubble, is relatively limited. Boston has two Two-Way players signed in returnees Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters. Because the rules on how often Two-Way players can be with their NBA team have been significantly relaxed, the Celtics are treating Fall and Waters as an extension to the standard 15-man roster.
This season, Two-Way players can play in up to 50 games with their NBA team. In addition, they can be active for all practices throughout the season. In a normal year, Two-Way players are limited to just 45 days with their NBA team, inclusive of both games and practices. This means that Fall and Waters are likely to spend the entirety of the season with the Celtics, even if the Red Claws do play.
Last season, Boston had several of their younger plays log significant minutes with Maine. Carsen Edwards, Romeo Langford and since-traded Vincent Poirier all did several stints with the Red Claws. This year, with injuries already hampering the roster, plus coronavirus concerns, it’s unlikely the Celtics would have sent players down to the G-League for long periods of time.
Not taking part in the G-League bubble may have also influenced Boston’s roster for training camp. Most years, the Celtics have brought in the maximum of 20 players to camp. They usually shuffle the last few spots throughout the preseason, as this can gain the team Affiliate Player rights.
Affiliate Players are ones who attended training camp with an NBA team, and then are assigned to that team’s G-League team. Often, those players receive a bonus if they spend a set amount of time with the G-League team.
As of this writing, the Celtics are carrying just 17 total players, which is equal to the maximum allowed players on the roster for the regular season. Boston has 15 players signed to standard contracts and the two Two-Way players.
There were reports in the last week that Boston was going to sign Amile Jefferson to a training camp contract, but to this point that signing has not yet been made official. In a normal year, Jefferson would be signed to an Exhibit 10 (training camp) contract with designs on Boston getting him to Maine following the post-camp cutdown. With Boston potentially not having an active G-League team, Jefferson may be added for some additional frontcourt depth throughout the preseason. Tristan Thompson is going to be limited for most of training camp. The Celtics also aren’t likely to push Daniel Theis too hard following an offseason knee procedure.