An off-season primer for the Celtics in regards to the salary cap/ Luxury tax situation for next season.
NBA salary cap is set to be around $122M next year, Once a team is over that figure they need to use "exceptions" to sign additional players ( Draft picks, MLE, Bi-annual, Vet minimum deals and TPEs). Right now the Celtics are at $156M in total salaries for 14 players
NBA LUXURY tax line is at $149M next year. Once a team hits that the owners have to pay an additional tax to the NBA on a sliding scale. Right now the Celtics are slated to pay $11.7M in tax according to spotrac
NBA hard cap apron is typically around $7 more than the Tax line. So that should be at $156M next season. However this is only triggered by three things each year. 1) Bringing in a player using a sign and trade, 2) using the Bi-annual exception, 3) using the full non-taxpaying MLE.. Once triggered a team CANNOT go over the hard cap apron at all.
Those are basics that need to be our starting point, IMO.
The Celtics as we see are already OVER the tax line and have one of the top overall salaries in the NBA right now.
Hauser, Fitts, Morgan and Stauskas are all on non-guaranteed or team options. HOWEVER their TOTAL salary is about $7.3M for all four players. SO there is no real cap savings by releasing them as you need to sign someone to replace that roster spot. I am not saying they all cannot be or should not be replaced, as I think all but Hauser should be upgraded.
Horford has $14.5M of his $26.5M guaranteed as of today, which means the team could release him and save $12M in salary. But as we see that only gets the team under the tax line and not under the salary cap.
SO you don't get to "use" the $12M you save somehow ( by like signing a free agent for that amount), you only save the owners money.
So with that little bit of roster recap, how can the team add depth or improve in the off-season.
Using the TPE's and the non taxpayer MLE are the best chances the team has to add talent without trades this off-season, IMO. None of those trigger the hard cap apron and only rely on the ownership group to be willing to pay more in salary and additional tax payments.
Right now the Celtics are SIXTH highest in active cap salary for next season for reference, Golden State is highest with $171M on the books. So how much more in salary they owners are willing to take on is a valid question.
Options to add talent in order of probability.
Tax-paying MLE - $6.3M
Vet Minimum contracts- $2.5M?
Herman Gomez TPE- $6.9M
Schroder TPE- $5.8M
Fournier TPE- $17.1M
IMO, I realistically see the team only using one of the Taxpaying MLE OR the Gomez TPE to add a talent to add in the rotation next year (unless they make trades involving one of the top 8 players on the roster now).
Since I believe that Stevens and Udoka have put together the players they want as their rotational pieces:
I only see upgrades coming from the bottom 6 roster spots or
I believe both Nesmith and Hauser are locks to be on the team next season also, so that leaves up to FOUR roster spots that can be upgraded IMO.
With the MLE ($6.3M), Vet Minimum deals and some young guys we have cheap rights to overseas ( Begarin and Madar) I do not see some big new addition , unless there is a major trade this off-season.
I do not see the Fournier TPE being in play because of the total cost in both salary and tax payments required,