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The New York Knicks have waived Lithuanian wing Mindaugas Kuzminskas to make room for Joakim Noah's return to the team.
Noah, who is returning from a 20-game suspensions for the use of a banned substance, forced the Knicks to have to choose a player to remove from the roster, and with Jarret Jack driving much of their early success this season and a frontcourt logjam, it was Kuzminskas who found himself the odd man out despite serving as a competent NBA wing last season, averaging 6.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and an assist on 42.8 percent shooting over just under 15 minutes per game last season. 

While he'll never reach those figures on a wing-heavy and talented team like the Boston Celtics, his stats suggest he has a knack for grabbing boards and throwing dimes as well as scoring, and could be a good option for the team to hang onto to bolster their rotation. Kuzminskas plays most of his time at the three, but is skilled and quick enough to play the four in some matchups, able to get past slower, traditional fours on most second units.
Don't get too excited by the possibility of adding a quality depth option, because Mindaugas probably won't be delivering clutch shots down the stretch for any NBA squad, but the Celts should definitely consider bringing the wing on board if the opportunity presents itself. That last part's the kicker, though - sitting well over the cap, the Celtics can't sign a player for above the minimum salary, which, given the $3 million Kuzminskas is owed this season, eliminates him from the team's reach as a waiver option.

There's a good chance he clears waivers with so many teams either in Boston's boat (over the cap), or trying to preserve it to use as a resource for signings or trades in a cap-constrained environment. Teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and Sacramento Kings already have too many bigs, and the Dallas Mavericks and Indiana Pacers aren't likely to sacrifice cap space to sign Kuzminskas. The Phoenix Suns should give him a shot, but it wouldn't at all shock me to see them pass the opportunity by. That only leaves the Brooklyn Nets, who aren't likely to renounce the cap holds needed to get to the threshold a dalliance with Mindaugas would cost them.
The short answer here is that the path to Kuzminskas is a narrow one, but one worth keeping tabs on, should he make it to free agency. A minimum deal that would bolster Boston's thin frontcourt with an option to play the wing is exactly what the Celts need early in the season, as well as a competent player able to be packaged or cut by the deadline should the team need to make room for a higher-grade replacement as the playoffs approach - don't forget the Celts still have the Disabled Player Exception to use by March, which, while eliminating the cap barrier up to $8.4 million, would still count against the current roster limit of 15 and two two-way contracts.

For more stories by Justin, click here.



Image: Getty/Sporting News
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn

Justin Quinn 11/13/2017 11:23:00 AM Edit
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