Without knowing the exact terms of Evan Turner's deal, it's impossible to know the Celtics exact financial situation. But here is what we know:
- The Celtics have 18 players on their roster
- 15 of those players have guaranteed deals, while three do not (Keith Bogans, Chris Johnson, Chris Babb)
- Not counting Turner or the non-guaranteed guys, the Cs have $71,749,278 in salary. That leaves them about $8.55 million over the salary cap ($63.2 million), and about $5.25 million below the luxury tax ($77 million). If Turner makes $3-4 million this season (which seems likely given the fact that his deal has been described as "a portion of the $5.5 million mid-level exception"), the Celtics will move within $1.5-2.5 million of the tax. In other words, they are going to have very little wiggle room.
With all of that out of the way, here is what we think we know:
Someone (or multiple someones) is/are getting traded.
With that point in mind, I decided to rank all 18 players by how likely they are to be traded BEFORE the regular season starts. I've given them all odds, which are basically educated guesses based on their contracts, skills, age, and trade value around the league. Let's dive in, with the players ranked from most to least likely to be dealt.
1. Keith Bogans (85% chance)
Contract status: 2-years, $10.8 million (non-guaranteed). Can be cut at any point before the season without paying him anything.
To be clear, there is a 0% chance Bogans is on the Celtics' roster come opening night. But it's still not 100% that he's dealt, as I'm leaving a 15% chance they don't find a deal that makes sense and end up just cutting him.
Bogans is an interesting trade chip simply because of that contract, as teams can trade guaranteed money for him and then simply release him, saving money in the process. Of course, for the Celtics to be willing to do that, they need to get something in return, whether that be a player or a draft pick. But when Danny Ainge signed Bogans to this deal last summer, he surely had it in mind that this contract would eventually bring something semi-valuable back to the Celtics, and I expect him to make that happen.
2. Brandon Bass (60% chance)
Contract status: 1-year, $6.9 million
To be honest I would have put this number higher last summer, yet Bass is still here, and that confuses me. I'm not saying he's a superstar, nor am I saying that he's a $7M/year player. But he's probably a $5M/year guy with his 10/6 stat line and well above average defense, and he would be a great get for a contender to play 20 minutes a game off their bench. Bass becomes more valuable this season as an expiring deal, but that also means the Celtics need to be a little pickier about what they receive in a trade. Dealing him last year for an expiring deal (ala Courtney Lee for Jerryd Bayless) would have made sense, but now the Cs will likely need to get something else in return (a trade exception or a second round pick perhaps) to make a deal. Simply trading him straight up for another expiring doesn't make sense, unless the expiring coming back in return was less money, which could give the Celts a little more wiggle room under the luxury tax.
3. Jeff Green (55% chance)
Contract status: 2-years, $18.4 million ($9.2 million in 2014-15 fully guaranteed, $9.2 million player option in 2015-16)
Oh, Uncle Jeff, how you frustrate us all. Back before the draft, Steve Bulpett (as plugged in as anyone on the beat) wrote that if the Celtics failed to acquire Kevin Love (and they have) they would likely deal both Green and Rajon Rondo. In fact, Bulpett wrote that they already had a taker for Green lined up.
Yet he's still here. Meaning that either Bulpett was completely wrong (unlikely), that team moved on to another option, or the Celtics decided not to pull the trigger. For all of our sakes, let's hope it it wasn't the latter.
Green is what I would consider a replacement level small forward. He gives you 15-18 PPG with average efficiency, plays pretty good defense, and is a well below average rebounder and passer. He's a $5-7 million player best suited to be the fourth or fifth option on a contender, yet is making $9 million to play the role of alpha dog on a bad team. And it's most definitely time to move on if possible.
While the Celtics are unlikely to get a major return for Green, dumping him is essential to the Celtics hopes of being a major player in the 2015 free agent class. So if the Cs can get an expiring contract for him they should do it.
T-4th/5th. Chris Johnson, Chris Babb (50% chance)
Contract status: Johnson (1-year, $915,243), Babb (1-year, $816,482), both non-guaranteed
Two guys with small, non-guaranteed deals and no place on the roster. I do think there's a better chance Johnson sticks on the team than Babb (if another trade is made that frees up a roster spot), but both are 50/50 to be dealt to a team desperate to make a cap clearing trade (hello again, Cleveland). Hopefully Ainge can turn over $7 million in non-guaranteeds (these guys and Bogans) into something valuable this summer.
6. Rajon Rondo (33% chance)
Contract status: 1-year, $12.9 million
I'm convinced that the Celtics are still completely up in the air about their future with Rondo. Ainge and the front office have clearly decided to continue the asset accumulation phase of their rebuild until something big comes along. Whether that be a Kevin Love trade (clearly not happening now, but the Cs did push for it), a godfather offer for Rondo, or a major move for a star next summer..the Celtics are biding their time. In other words, I do not think the Celtics are looking to move their point guard, but they will certainly be listening to offers.
But it's not going to be easy to find a team with both a need at point guard and the type of assets the Celtics are looking for. Houston is reportedly interested, but is a deal centered around Terrence Jones and a late first round pick really enough? The Kings have been linked to him forever, but they let Isaiah Thomas go to Phoenix and reached for Nik Stauskas with the 8th pick in the draft, weakening any potential package they could put together. It's just not all that likely that a team ponies up the type of haul Ainge is looking for, and considering the Cs could be in a position to both re-sign Rondo and bring in another big free agent next summer, there's no reason to simply deal him for pennies on the dollar. So I expect Rondo to be here opening night, but not before we sift through another dozen rumors.
7. Marcus Thornton (30% chance)
Contract status: 1-year, $8.6 million
Thornton cannot be moved until Mid-September in a multi-player deal (two months after the Celtics acquired him), but could be dealt at any time by himself.
That said, I think it's going to take some time to drum up interest in the Cs new bench scorer. Thornton is a poor mans Jamal Crawford (emphasis on poor), a dude who comes off the bench and is completely unafraid of firing up shots on top of shots on top of shots. For his career he has averaged 15.8 shot attempts-per-36 minutes, and has turned those attempts into a very respectable 18.5 points-per-36 average.
But he's also expensive, and seems much more likely to be moved closer to the trade deadline when a contender suddenly is in need of some bench scoring. That's exactly what happened last season when Thornton was moved from Sacramento to Brooklyn, and I expect it to happen again this year, just not until after the season starts.
8. Joel Anthony (20% chance)
Contract status: 1-year, $3.8 million
Had the Celtics pulled off a deal for Love, Anthony may have been one of the pieces used due to his expiring contract. But with that deal on life support, the odds Anthony is moved have dropped quite a bit. While his deal is expiring, he brings no value to whatever team acquires him, and the only way I could see him being moved is as a small part of a larger trade by the Celtics. And unfortunately I do not see that type of deal on the horizon. More likely: Anthony is bought out at some point of the season, saving the Cs a little money and letting him go sit on the end of the bench for a playoff team.
T-9. Vitor Faverani (15% chance)
Contract status: 2-years, $4.3 million ($2.1 million fully guaranteed in 2014-15, $2.2 million team option in 2015-16)
Color me intrigued by Vitor's talents, as I think he'll get a legitimate chance to play some center this season. In nearly 500 minutes last year, he averaged 12.1 points, 9.4 boards and 2 blocks per-36, showing off both range on his jumper and the ability to block shots. Sure, he had his ups and downs, but what rookie playing in America for the first time wouldn't?
He's still only 26, has a cheap option for next season, and he's worth more to the Celtics than another team (meaning another team isn't going to give up value for him). All hail Vitor, the hopefully decent back-up center.
T-9. Phil Pressey (15% chance)
Contract status: 2-years, $1.8 million ($816,000 fully guaranteed in 2014-15, $947,000 team option for 2015-16)
Pressey is another "worth more to us than them" guy, but I don't think he's helped by the Celtics logjam of guards. Seriously, where is Pressey getting playing time with Rondo, Smart, Bradley, Thornton and Turner on the roster? He's facing a major uphill battle.
So it's not completely impossible that Pressey is moved for a non-guaranteed deal or a second round pick to a team in need of a back-up PG. But it's still unlikely.
T-11th/12th/13th. Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, James Young (10% chance)
Contract status: Sullinger: 2-years, $3.7 million (includes team option for 2015-16), Olynyk: 3-years, $7.4 million (includes team options for both 2015-16 and 2016-17), Young: 4-years, $8.1 million (includes team options for both 2016-17 and 2017-18)
Putting these three together because the only way I see them moved is as part of a big deal to bring a star to Boston, something I do not see happening (but can't completely rule out). Obviously the three are in different stages of development, with Sully being the furthest along, Young having the highest ceiling, and Olynyk probably being the best bet to stick around for a long time (mainly because of Sully's back issues). All three are 23-years-old or younger and under contract for several more seasons for basically nothing, so expect them all to be on the Celtics roster. Barring a mega-deal of course.
14. Tyler Zeller (8% chance)
Contract status: 2-years, $4.3 million ($1.7 million guaranteed for 2014-15, $2.6 million team option for 2015-16)
There were two reasons I put Zeller slightly below the other three guys:
1. He can't be moved in a multi-player deal until Mid-Septmeber (same reason as Thornton), so that gives us only a six-week window for him to be dealt before the season starts. Less time = less of a chance.
2. His value is a little lower. He has only two cost controlled years left, and unlike Sullinger (who also has two), he hasn't showed much on the court yet.
15. Gerald Wallace (5% chance)
Contract status: 2-years, $20.2 million
Gerald Wallace will be here forever.
Ok, maybe not forever. But absolutely for this season, with the only possible exception being if his albatross of a contract is moved with Rondo. However, even that is incredibly unlikely.
You see, if the Celtics do attach Wallace to Rondo, they are likely to receive less back in terms of assets. And the Celts are much better off using Rondo to snag as many assets as humanly possible as opposed to simply using him to dump Crash. No matter what the Celtics have no cap space for this season, and if they deal Rondo they'll already be in line for over $30 million in cap space next summer ($40 million if they move Green or he declines his player option). Considering they'll be deep in a rebuild sans Rondo, does it really matter that much if they have $30 million or $40 million in cap space? If the price for moving Wallace is more assets that could be coming this way, I'm definitely passing. As much as that hurts to type.
16. Marcus Smart (3% chance)
Contract status: 4-years, $14.8 million (includes team options for both 2016-17 and 2017-18)
Maybe this number should be closer to the 10% I gave Sully, Olynyk and Young, but I really don't think Smart is going anywhere for awhile, never mind by the start of the regular season. It's extremely rare for a top-ten pick to be dealt before appearing in a game for the team that drafted him (not counting draft night trades), and literally the only player on the market I could see the Cs dealing Smart for is Love. I'd consider him off limits in a Greg Monroe deal, while I would be willing to dangle any of the Sully/Olynyk/Young combo if that interested the Pistons. So that's basically my reasoning for putting him lower on the list than those guys.
T-17th/18th. Evan Turner, Avery Bradley (0% chance)
Under the new CBA, players cannot be traded until December 15th after signing as a free agent with a new team (Turner), and until January 15th after signing with their former team after that team used the player's Bird rights to re-sign him while they were over the cap (Bradley). So neither of these guys can be traded before opening night, which explains their standing as the least likely to be moved.
So there it is, odds on every last member of the roster. While it's tough to pinpoint exactly who it will be, I feel comfortable at putting the odds that the Celtics trade someone at close to 100%. Now we just have to wait and see who it is that goes.
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For more of my articles, click here Michael Dyer 7/23/2014 04:52:00 PM Tweet