The Celtics should pay Kelly Olynyk early

Well, this isn't where we were supposed to be. Two months ago, we were supposed to get Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons. Unfortunately for us, the balls didn't bounce the right way, and even the most optimistic, koolaid drinking, green teamer would have to admit our chances of landing KD are next to non-existent.

The Celtics currently have 9 players under contract, and two others with non guaranteed contracts - giving them anywhere between 30 and 55 million dollars in cap space. That leaves the Celtics with a boat load of money, and no definitive course of action. After Durant & Lebron, the list of free agents is fairly unimpressive: Whiteside, DeRozan, Conley, Horford, Howard, Barnes, Parsons, Jefferson and Batum headline the class (a more complete list can be found here). Those players could certainly provide value to this team, but they don't exactly get the blood pumping.

It may be time for Danny to start exploring a few outside the box solutions, and arguably none make more logical sense than paying Kelly Olynyk ahead of schedule - and I'm not talking about a traditional extension.

As Bill Simmons pointed out in his most recent podcast with Joe House, there is a clause in the CBA that allows teams to renegotiate deals with players in the fourth or fifth year of their contract that'd allow the team to pay the player ahead of schedule, at a maximum of four years (including the renegotiated season). Making Olynyk eligible for the rarely-used early pay raise.

Why would the Celtics pay Olynyk ahead of schedule? Because next summer is the last year before Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart are eligible for massive pay increases. While it's not a thrilling option, if the Celtics don't like what's out there for free agents, it might make sense to pay Olynyk early to increase what they can spend the following summer, when Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Gordon Hawyward could switch teams.

To be super clear - The Celtics would approach Olynyk about paying him ahead of schedule by saying they'd average what he'd make over the next 4 seasons. So his 3.9 million dollar figure for next year, plus three years of what he'd make on his next contract. If his next contract is 15 million, paying him early would average that out at 12.25, giving them roughly 3 million dollars extra in cap space.

While 3 million extra might not sound a lot - I'd argue that every bit counts, and that if Ainge believes in Olynyk it's in the team's best interest to lock him up ahead of this next salary cap spike (the cap is set to be at 91 million this year, and roughly 120 next year), and ahead of another year of hopeful development. And while that might mean one less year of 'control' over Kelly, the long term savings would definitely offset that.