Someone please take my money

Haven't blogged in awhile, but what better way to get back into the fold than with a detailed look at the Celtics current salary cap outlook? What could go wrong?

As we all know, free agency starts tomorrow. Or to be more precise, at midnight tonight. Already the Celtics are off to a smooth start, as both Greg Monroe and Jimmy Butler have cancelled their free agency meetings with the team. Nothing gets you confident that this is finally the year the Cs land an elite talent on the open market like two guys who won't even sit in a room with you while you offer them tens of millions of dollars (real talk: Butler cancelled his meetings everywhere after Chicago offered the max, so that's understandable. Monroe on the other hand..have fun on the Knicks, dude!).

But with the NBA having the most confusing cap this side of the NFL, many fans are wondering: just how much sweet, sweet cash do the Celtics really have to offer?

Let's take a look at their current salary situation at this very moment to start (hat tip to Matt Richissin for some chart work).

A few things:

#1: This is using the NBA's rookie salary scale for 1st round picks Terry Rozier and RJ Hunter.

#2: Second round picks have non-guaranteed deals and no real scale. Mickey could make $1 million per season, or $600,000. I am using Phil Pressey's first year salary as a guide.

#3: Jae Crowder's cap hit at the moment is $1.181 million -- that will either go up considerably if he re-signs here, or go down to zero if he signs elsewhere. It isn't staying at that number, but that's all we have to work with right now.

#4: Don't even pay attention to the Celtics cap space beyond this season. Between their minimal commitments and the NBA's monster cap surge, they have as much money as they'll ever need the next two summers. Will anyone take it? Maybe not. But they have a monster amount of space (unfortunately, so does most everyone else).

With all that said, the important number is located in B21, this summer's cap space. With a projected cap of $67.1 million, and $44+ million in salary guarantees for 11 players, plus Crowder's cap hold, the Celtics enter this summer with $22,538,806 in cap space. For those keeping score, yes that's enough for any max free agent (LeBron's projected max for year one = $22 million, Kevin Love's = $19 million), and more than enough for any restricted max free agent (paging Tobias Harris (projected max in year one = $15.8 million). Tobias Harris please pick up the phone).

But the Celtics also have the ability to stretch Gerald Wallace's deal out over three seasons, which could give them more space if they need it (remember the Love + Robin Lopez + Pierce rumor Woj floated? They would need to stretch Wallace to make this happen).

If they did stretch Wallace, here's how it would look.

In this scenario, the Celtics have just over $29 million to work with, meaning they could give Love $19 million, Lopez $10 million, and still have the full mid-level exception of $5.5 million to give to Pierce. (By the way, that really was the weirdest rumor ever by Woj. Still trying to digest it).

This would also allow the Celtics to sign a guy like Harris and still have about $13.5 million in cap space left over. Meaning if they could shed about $2-2.5 million, they could make a run at two max restricted free agents.

This cap space could also come in handy in trades, as the Celtics have tons of space to absorb contracts (I'd keep an eye on Houston's Trevor Ariza and/or Terrence Jones as the Rockets try and add another max guy to their team).

Long story short: the Celtics have a ton of flexibility to do just about anything this summer. The question, as it always seems to be, is who will take their money? Will Love meet with them? Will Harris consider the Celtics when several other teams will offer him the same amount of cash? Will the Cs be stuck with mid-to-lower level guys like Lopez and Al-Farouq Aminu? Not sure of the answer on that one, although my gut says they have a realistic shot at both Harris and Lopez, and a longggggggg-shot to convince Love to sign a max deal with a player option after next year, allowing him to cash in big time next summer after a monster year in Boston and a huge jump in the cap.

But whatever happens, it won't be cap flexibility that holds them back. $30 million is a ton of money to toss around -- now if only someone would take it.

Follow Mike on twitter - Mike_Dyer13

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Michael Dyer 6/30/2015 01:23:00 PM Edit
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