BOSTON (CBS) — It hasn’t been an ideal offseason for the Celtics, but they’ve managed to put together a pretty good team. And thanks to some salary cap gymnastics by Danny Ainge, Boston has a little extra cap space to work with to finish off their roster.
The Celtics reportedly rescinded their qualifying offer to center Daniel Theis on Monday, making him an unrestricted free agent. Theis and the Celtics agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal earlier this summer and that pact will be signed eventually, with the Celtics able to use Early Bird Rights to bring Theis back in the fold.
But in rescinding their offer to Theis, the Celtics freed up some additional cap space that they can use for their final roster spot, which is vacant after the team waived Guerschon Yabusele last week. Boston has stretched out Yabusele’s remaining contract over the next three years, freeing up a little more wiggle room under the cap this season.
The Celtics will have roughly $1.1 million to fill the 15th spot on their roster once they sign Theis. Here’s how the Celtics look at the moment (including Theis):
Robert Williams III
Ainge has a few different ways to use that $1.1 million and open roster spot. He could keep it vacant in hopes of adding a veteran later in the season, which has been his move in previous seasons. But with the Celtics falling out of contender status in the East, veterans will likely choose to go somewhere else with better title aspirations.
The most likely scenario is the Celtics will use the spot and cap space on a new deal for Waters. The second-round pick already agreed to a two-way spot with the Celtics after they drafted him out of LSU last month, but he could be in line for a four-year contract after some impressive play in the Las Vegas Summer League. Waters averaged 11.2 points and 4.8 assists in Boston’s five games in Vegas, playing in their final game just days after his father was found dead in a Connecticut motel. Second-round picks usually sign two-year deals, but the Celtics have the room to give the rookie more than the minimum, which would let them keep Waters under control their control for two extra years.
That, of course, would open up another two-way contract for the Celtics. And that, of course, would make room for one Tacko Fall, the 7-foot-6 undrafted center who took the Summer League by storm. Tacko has a lot of seasoning to go through before he is ready for the NBA, so a two-way deal would make a lot of sense for both sides. Fall could learn the ropes in the G League with the Maine Red Claws, and the Celtics would have the summer sensation under their control.
While fans are clamoring for Fall to get a deal from the Celtics, Javonte Green could also be in line for a two-way contract after an impressive summer. Green threw down some thunderous dunks in Vegas, averaging 10.3 points per game off 50 percent shooting, and may be a player Ainge wants to hang on to. While fans are hoping for Fall, the Celtics have options for that second two-way contract should it become available.
Ainge’s work is almost done constructing the 2019-20 Boston Celtics roster. Thanks to some cap maneuvering, he has a little more wiggle room to work with than he did a few days ago.