The Boston Celtics are going to be facing a roster crunch for the 2020-21 season. The Celtics have nine players on guaranteed contracts. They have two players on non-guaranteed contracts and six pending free agents. Boston also has as many as four picks in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here’s how things currently break down for the Celtics:
· Guaranteed Contracts – Jaylen Brown, Carsen Edwards, Romeo Langford, Vincent Poirier, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Grant Williams, Robert Williams
· Non-guaranteed contracts – Javonte Green, Daniel Theis
· Pending free agents – Tacko Fall (restricted), Gordon Hayward (player option), Enes Kanter (player option), Semi Ojeleye (team option, restricted), Brad Wanamaker (restricted), Tremont Waters (restricted)
· 2020 NBA Draft Picks - #17, #26, #30, #46
Now, let’s do a little math. Teams are capped at 17 roster spots (20 for the preseason). That’s 15 standard spots and two Two-Way spots. Even though Boston has been open to eating guaranteed money, and has done so for several years running, that was before the team was certain to be in the luxury tax.
Let’s start with the assumption that all nine players with guaranteed deals will be back. That’s probably the case at least as far as entering training camp. Daniel Theis is a lock to be back as well. That makes 10.
What about the free agents? The going assumption is that Hayward will pick up his option. If not, he’ll decline it to sign a long-term deal with the Celtics. Let’s count him in as being back. Enes Kanter is a little harder to project. He’s not playing the role he envisioned, but he seems to love being in Boston. And $5 million is a lot to pass up on in an uncertain market. Let’s count him in too. We’re at 12 now.
Now is where it gets hard. The Celtics have three standard spots left and they’ve got two Two-Way spots. Let’s look at who is left:
· Tacko Fall
· Javonte Green
· Semi Ojeleye
· Brad Wanamaker
· Tremont Waters
With 12 spots spoken for and Boston likely to bring in at least two rookies out of their four draft picks, that means the above five players will be fighting for one or two roster spots at most. Over the course of this series, we’ll make the case why each of the five deserves a spot on the 2020-21 Celtics. Here’s the order we’ll tackle each player:
· Other Considerations
The last one on the list is where we’ll talk about options with the draft picks. We’ll also touch on what could happen with a few of the players that have guaranteed contracts.