The Boston Celtics are in the middle of a rebuilding year and in a phase where salary cap space becomes extremely important. It is imperative that the Celtics leave room to sign young players and perhaps a significant free agent if the opportunity arises. Of course, Boston is not the most popular destination for top free agents, so locking up future pieces becomes more critical. Here’s a look how the Celtics shape up financially.
The NBA’s current salary cap is set at $58.679 million, while the luxury tax level is at $71.748 million. The Celtics are currently situated at $70, 037, 244. Thanks to the Courtney Lee trade, the Celtics avoid the luxury tax for the second straight season. However, the Celtics find themselves about $12 million over the cap. Luckily, the Celtics have a few contracts that will expire at season’s end.
With six expiring contracts, the Celtics are looking at a better salary cap situation for 2014-15. Boston loses Kris Humphries’ $12 million, Keith Bogans’ $5 million, Jerryd Bayless’ $3 million and the combination of the small contracts of Vitor Faverani, MarShon Brooks and Phil Pressey which add up to about $3.5 million. A total of roughly $23 million will be coming off the books. Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford also become restricted free agents, so if the Celtics fail to re-sign both these players that’s an additional $5 million being shed.
The Celtics are looking at a potential payroll of around $40 million next season (about $18 million under the cap). Players under contract include Rajon Rondo ($13 million), Gerald Wallace ($10 million), Jeff Green ($9 million), Brandon Bass ($6 million), Kelly Olynyk ($2 million) and Jared Sullinger ($1.5 million). It would be in the best interest of the team to try and shed the salaries of Wallace, Green and Bass as well as trade Rondo in order to obtain good value in return. The Celtics’ future will be in much better shape if the Celtics can get rid of those contracts. Those players are in their upper 20s or lower 30s and are not part of the nucleus of the future. In return, the Celtics need expiring contracts, young talent and first-round picks.
Critical decisions await for the Celtics in the offseason. Whether or not to sign Avery Bradley is a huge decision going forward, and he is reportedly asking for about $8 million. Jordan Crawford is most likely worth between $4-5 million. Signing them both would account for an extra $12-13 million against the cap while their qualifying offers would only account for a total of an $6 million. The Celtics need to decide what to do with these players going forward.
Overall, the Celtics are in a decent situation financially. They will be under the cap this season, and if they can trade away some of their more expensive pieces they will be in even better shape. The future of the Celtics doesn’t look so bleak after all. They have many draft picks and an opportunity to spend money on significant pieces. Financially, this organization is headed in the right direction and will have many opportunities because of it.