The Boston Celtics' 2018-19 roster appears close to being set with very little room to add any additional players. By my count, the roster is presently at 14 players, not including Marcus Smart whose situation is still in flux as a restricted free agent.

Marcus is not the sole cause of the flux of which I mentioned. Jabari Bird was given a qualifying offer as a two-way player, making him another RFA. Jonathan Gibson turned down his QO and is an unrestricted free agent. Newly-acquired Brad Wanamaker is included in the 14 players, and now the Celtics may have interest in his former Euroleague teammate, James Nunnally. A NBA roster can only field a maximum of 15 players, so you already know where this is going.

Danny Ainge obviously wants to assemble a team that can take out the Golden State Warriors this season. DeMarcus Cousins, recently signed by GS, may not play at the start of the season but could be ready by the end of it, including playoffs. We are talking omnipotence here.

Danny favors major trades but would not shy away from a two-for-one or three-for-two deal to create an open roster spot. Abdel Nader could be waived or included in a trade with at least one other player, possibly Marcus Morris.

The 14 players on contract are: Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier, Brad Wanamaker, Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Guerschon Yabusele, Semi Ojeleye, Robert Williams, Daniel Theis, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Abdel Nader, Jaylen Brown and Aron Baynes. Marcus Smart, if signed by Boston would complete the 15-man roster.

I can almost guarantee these exact 15 players will not constitute the 2018-19 roster. Ainge would most likely like to retain Jabari Bird as a two-way player, which is not included as part of the 15-player roster. It is doubtful that Nunnally would accept a two-way deal with Boston, possibly opening up a spot for Bird as a full-time Celtic if Nader were to be waived. Even Gibson is not out of the conversation entirely.

Smart's situation is up in the air and hopefully will be resolved soon. That 15th roster spot is there for him. His signing by Boston or his departure will clarify most roster questions. That will give Danny more breathing room and clarity in making further decisions. He's made some great ones since coming to Boston.

But in closing, the above tweet tells us that Marcus' mother's illness may play a role in the final outcome. My mom died at the age of 46 from cancer, and the awful dreams still appear. We sometimes forget that there are more important things than professional sports. Smart's mom is dear to him, and Marcus has been an absolute fan favorite here. We wish both the very best possible outcomes.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Christopher Evans/Boston Herald

Tom Lane 7/06/2018 12:56:00 PM Edit
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