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This morning, like many of you, I woke up, had some coffee...and scratched my head when I first saw news of the reported Shane Larkin deal.


Let me get ahead of all of you quickly and say that what I am about to write about is merely a guess - nothing more. That said, I was as puzzled as the rest of you by the move, and wondered what might be brewing up in Boston. You see, the Boston Celtics roster was pretty much set when I went to bed, and I expected as much in the morning.

Silly me - this team is run by "Trader" Danny Ainge, after all.

The roster, which, after the reported signing of Aron Baynes and Kadeem Allen this week, was at 15 regular-season contracts of guaranteed money, and one of two new "two-way" contracts for players who will spend most of the season the NBA G-League (in this case, Allen) was filled too. And the news on Larkin was that he would also be guaranteed $1.5 million after turning down $6.3 million to stay in Europe, so he certainly wouldn't be signing that last two-way deal.


Something didn't add up.

Talking it over with fellow CelticsLife writers Mark Allison and Topher Lane, we deduced it was likely going to be an insurance policy for Isaiah Thomas' hip issues - but even that didn't make sense, given the amount of guaranteed money Larkin is getting and how much more he could have earned not coming at all. And with 16 regular season deals the front office would have to have to shrink to 15 come October, someone needed to go. NBA rules prevent trading away much of the new guys before December 15th, however, and the years on the deals of players like Semi Ojeleye, Abdel Nader, and Ante Zizic didn't make much sense. Cutting Allen wouldn't open a roster spot, as it's a two-way deal.

In fact, only stashing Guerschon Yabusele another year would allow the team to get away with not throwing money away, which seemed a stretch, confirmed after multiple reputable sources emphasized Yabusele would still be with the team. This left only Daniel Theis to fight in training camp for the final slot, expected to be inked to a Minimum Exception deal (about $850,000) - until news he was signing that deal today, making things even more confusing.


Then, it hit me. A trade! This is, again, not me reporting an impending trade - just the possibility. The only other way out of too many contracts (and arguably, a wiser use of resources in a cash-strapped era) is to sign guys to fill the spaces of outgoing contracts which have been amalgamated, allowing you a better range of flexibility in repopulating that roster post-trade while also reducing the number of contracts on the roster.

There are still a few free agents who might make sense for Boston to make such a deal for - Nerlens Noel and JaMychal Green jump to mind - and while some players cannot be traded until December 15th, all draft picks from this year's class will be eligible 30 days after signing, as will all returning contracts. So, while not a sure thing by any means, keep in mind there may be something in the works concerning a trade, too.

For more stories about the offseason on CelticsLife, click here. For more by Justin, click here.



Image: Al Bello/Getty Images
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn

Justin Quinn 7/20/2017 02:03:00 PM Edit
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