Any players bought out and waived by their teams prior to March 1st can be signed by another team up to the day before the start of playoffs. The Raptors and Celtics are two teams that could possibly sign Vince Carter should the Kings choose to buy him out. It now appears that the Raptors are no longer considering bringing back Vince this season. If Carter or other presently-playing veterans are waived after March 1st, they can not be signed by other teams and added to the team's playoff roster.

The Celtics have had trouble scoring the ball thus far in the regular season, and accomplishing that in the playoffs will be even tougher. They can use another scoring veteran to complement Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. I had written previously that Carter could fill that role for Boston.

Of course, another veteran-shooter option is Gordon Hayward. Danny Ainge has stated that February would be a critical period in Gordon's rehab from his cringe-worthy ankle injury. By the end of February, the team should have a much better estimate of Hayward's chances of a return for the playoffs.

The Celtics brass has been saying the right thing, namely that they don't expect Hayward back this season. Boston's lack of an aggressive attempt to sign another vet adds fuel to what I have already written - that Gordon has a significant chance of returning this season. The next week or two should tell us a lot. If we hear he is running on the AlterG with minimal assist, taking low-level jumpers, doing left-legged calf raises for multiple reps and moving fairly well laterally, I would think that his chances go from significant to good, with 4-6 weeks remaining before he might take to the court.

The worst possible scenario is a too-early return that results in further injury. Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens, Gordon and the medical and rehab teams would need to come to a consensus on the decision. I would love to see another updated tweet from Gordon on the specifics of his present rehab and progress.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via John Rooux/Associated Press

Tom Lane 2/23/2018 11:53:00 AM Edit
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