By Brian Robb, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) – Celtics fans knew a deal was coming this week to coincide with the signing of Gordon Hayward.
On Friday, they finally got it, as Boston shipped out Avery Bradley and his $8.8 million salary along with a 2019 second round pick for Pistons forward Marcus Morris.
The decision was not an easy one for president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
“It’s no secret that Avery had been one of my favorite players, and on behalf of our entire organization, I’d like to thank him and Ashley for all of their contributions on and off the court,” Ainge said in a press release. “Avery did a lot of the dirty work and often didn’t get the recognition that he deserved, but our coaches, staff, his teammates, and our fans who watched him play every night appreciated what a special player and person he is.”
Continued Ainge: “We are excited to add a high-quality player with the versatile skillset that Marcus possesses. He will be a great fit for our team.
The trade starts to set the stage for a Celtics roster next season, since trading Bradley is probably the biggest domino to fall after Boston agreed to terms with Hayward earlier this week.
What does the move allow the Celtics to fill the remainder of their roster for the 2017-18 season amid a complex salary cap squeeze? Let’s take a look at what doors have been opened with the Bradley deal.
1) No one else needs to be traded to sign Gordon Hayward — Entering Friday, the Celtics needed to cut a few million dollars from their roster to squeeze in Hayward’s $29 million starting salary onto the books. They did just that by dealing for Morris. Morris will earn just $5 million next season, giving the Celtics a savings of $3.8 million against this year’s cap. That gives the Celtics enough room to sign Hayward as long as they waive Jordan Mickey’s non-guaranteed contract before the signing.
2) The Celtics no longer have to stash Guerschon Yabusele — The No. 16 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft was a candidate to be kept overseas to help facilitate the signing of Hayward under the salary cap. However, the Celtics created a bit of breathing room to fit in Hayward and other young pieces of the roster. Yabusele’s $2.2 million rookie contract can now be fit in, so you can expect the Celtics to sign the 21-year-old power forward to a deal in the coming days. He’s currently sitting out summer league as he recovers from foot energy, but the French big man could push for minutes in the Boston frontcourt this fall.
3) Demetrius Jackson gets a chance to stick around — The Celtics held out the second-year point guard for two summer league games in Utah as the team visited various trade scenarios to free up cap room for Hayward. With Bradley out of the picture now though, Jackson gets a reprieve for the time being. He’s no lock to make the final 15-man roster this fall, but with a spot opening up in the backcourt, Jackson will get to make a case for himself over the next week in Summer League. Only $650,000 of his contract is guaranteed until July 15th, so a strong showing in Las Vegas should give the front office enough incentive to fully guarantee that deal and bring him into training camp.
4) The Celtics still have money to spend — The room level exception is still in play for Boston even after they use up most of their cap room on Gordon Hayward. That $4.3 million should come in handy as the Celtics search for a way to upgrade the frontcourt behind Al Horford. (UPDATE: The Celtics have reportedly signed big man Aron Baynes to a one-year, $4.3 million deal.) With only inexperienced big man upfront in Ante Zizic and Yabusele, the Celtics will need some rim protection and rebounding on the backline. Danny Ainge and his staff will have to choose well on the market to find some help with limited resources.
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.