As most of Celtics Nation is aware of, the C’s have been in rebuilding mode since the departure of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Danny Ainge and the front office has been steadily acquiring future (draft pick treasure chest) and current (Isaiah Thomas, Brad Stevens) assets to put the franchise in a position where they can build a winning culture and still be in a position to make a huge splash in free agency.
According to Basketball Insiders, the NBA’s salary cap is expected to rise to about $90.1 mil or greater next year. Based on that number, they were able to put together a list of the best and worst case salary cap scenarios for each franchise.
Best case scenario has the Celtics ranked 4th among NBA teams with $49.4 mil in cap space behind the Mavericks at $57.2 (assuming Dirk, Parsons, and D-Will all opt out which is highly unlikely), the abysmal Lakers at $64.1 (losing the “black hole” of cap space AKA Black Mamba)) and the borderline unwatchable 76ers at $55.7. This scenario assumes that Boston opts out of team options on Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson and choose to let Lee, Zeller, Sullinger, and Turner hit free agency.
Worst case scenario has the C’s ranked only behind the 76ers’ almost guaranteed $46.1 mil in cap space with Boston sitting at $28.7. This case also assumes the likely chances of letting David Lee and Zeller go and not picking up Jerebko’s team option.
While cap space is nice to have, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee championship banners. If the Celtics do in fact end up with near $50 mil in spending money, how they intend to use it could define this team for many years to come.
Here is a list of potential high salary demanding free agents this summer:
Andre Drummond (restricted)
Harrison Barnes (restricted)
Bradley Beal (restricted)
Presumably, Ainge will have the chance to sign two free agents to max deals. Is there anybody on this list (or free agents-to-be off the list) that you would want the Celtics to sign for a max contract outside of the obvious, Kevin Durant?
I think realistically we could sign Al Horford and Nicolas Batum, but we shouldn't spend max dollars to sign them. There's no easy solution, and things could theoretically change after the trade deadline, but what should the Celtics plan to do this off-season with the roster as is?
Photo Credit: Boston Herald
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