The Boston Celtics, along with the rest of the NBA, have had a busy off-season. Adding a top caliber player to a team isn’t as easy as swapping jerseys and giving up draft picks. One side of things most fans overlook is contracts. And that’s a pretty huge factor into where players go and why they go where they do. Maybe team “A” has more cap room, or maybe team “B” can offer better assets while matching money. It’s a much more complicated game of chess.
The off-season is a crazy time for NBA fans. They hear a rumor about a certain player maybe wanting a trade and instantly fans are photo shopping that player into jerseys of their favorite team; regardless of how ridiculous it is. I’m looking at you 2010 Laker Fans. Anyways, in this piece, I’ll be breaking down player by player how the Boston Celtics salary cap situation is going to be for this year and the next few years.
- Kemba Walker
During the off-season, Walker signed a 4 year- $140M contract. It starts with Kemba earning $32,742,000 during the 2019-20 season. The following season he will earn $34,379,100. His third year earnings will be $36,016,200. Kemba’s last year on contract will be a player option in the 2022-2023 season. Kemba could earn $37,653,300 by staying with the team.
During the last season under contract, Kemba will be 32 years old. After the contract ends he’ll be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) and will start his free agency all over again. As for all players who signed a new contract, Kemba is not eligible to be traded until 12/15/2019. But the Celtics do have his full Bird rights in 2023.
- Gordon Hayward
In the off-season before the ’17-’18 season, Hayward signed a 4 year- $127M contract. His first season was cut extremely short due to injury. His second season he spent coming back into form and getting used to the speed of the game on a team riddled with chemistry issues. He’s now entering his 3rd year of the contract in which he will earn $32,700,690. Then the following season (2020-21) becomes a player option, which he will earn $34,187,085 in his last year under contract.
After that he too will become an UFA and be free to sign anywhere he wants. The Boston Celtics also have his full Bird rights in 2021. Some Celtic fans think Hayward should be an option of trading but he needs to play better before he becomes appealing to any other team. Hayward’s earnings put him in the top 20 of highest salaries. The 2020-21 season seems to be more likely of a timetable for Hayward to get moved if he was getting moved. But you never know with Danny.
- Marcus Smart
The next highest paid player might come as a shock, but it’s well deserved in my opinion, Marcus Smart. Smart signed a 4 year- $52M contract before the ’18-’19 season. He just finished up his first year of the contract. With 3 years remaining and right at the start of his prime, Smart seems to be on a bargain of a contract. At the end of his 4 year deal, Smart will be 27 years old and making a hair under $14 million for the 2021-2022 season.
This kind of contract makes him the ultimate asset. Similar to the Jae Crowder contract that everyone wanted. People are going to ask about Smart’s availability in the next few years. It’s my personal belief that Danny realizes how much of a factor he is to the team and keeps him. Especially if he continues to shoot league average from downtown.
- Jayson Tatum
After Marcus Smart, the next highest paid player is actually Jayson Tatum. Tatum is still on his rookie deal of 3 years- $20M. I know what you’re thinking, is this the last year Tatum is going to be under contract? Well stop worrying, and let’s explain his situation.
In his contract, there was a team option for a fourth year in which the Boston Celtics did pick up. So he’s secure for the 2020-21 season as well. After a rookie contract, a player is a restricted FA as opposed to an unrestricted FA. Which means the Boston Celtics can match any contract offered to Tatum. But in order for Tatum to become a RFA, he must first be offered a qualifying offer before the July Moratorium.
A qualifying offer is essentially a one year contract with value based on the previous salary of the player.
In Tatum’s case the QO would be about $12M. At that point Tatum, can either choose to sign the QO or decline it. If Tatum accepts, he would play that one year and then become an UFA the following year. If Tatum declines, he is then considered a RFA. It’s possible for a player to decline the QO and still re-sign with the original team. So don’t be surprised or act as if the world is ending if Tatum doesn’t sign the QO in about a year. Because in my opinion, if Smart is getting close to $14M a year, I would think Tatum would feel he deserves a bit more than $12M.
- Jaylen Brown
Brown’s rookie deal was a 4 year- $21M contract. Brown is entering the last year on his rookie deal. He is expected to be offered a QO worth about $8M. But I fully expect Brown to decline the offer. Especially when you look at the numbers some of his draft classmates have been getting, like Jamal Murray or Ben Simmons. Both getting $100M+. On an expiring deal, if Brown was going to get moved, this would be the year it happens. It’ll be an interesting season and off-season for Jaylen Brown on a contract year. Expect his best play this year.
- Daniel Theis
Daniel Theis’ situation is easy. He signed a 2 year- $10M contract this past off-season. He’s got $5M coming to him this year and next year. After the 2020-21 season he’ll be an UFA. Although his 2020 season salary is non guaranteed, it becomes fully guaranteed as long as he isn’t waived by 7/2/2020.
- Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter signed a 2 year- $9.7M contract. Kanter’s contract isn’t a straight up 2 year deal. He has a player option for 2020-21. So if Kanter likes the Boston Celtics enough, then he’ll accept the player option for $5M and return for the 2020-21 season.
Another possible reason he could accept the PO is if he feels that he won’t get that much money from any other team. An example of such a thing is when Kent Bazemore accepted his $19M player option this off-season. He probably enjoyed Atlanta but also felt that no other team would probably offer him that much. So why turn down that opportunity? (*whispers* Gordon might end up in the same boat)
- Romeo Langford
Langford signed a 2 year- $7M rookie contract. There’s a team option in 2021-22 and in 2022-23. After that he’s up for a QO during the 2023-24 season worth about $7M. So he could potentially be locked up for 5 years before the Boston Celtics would have to give him an extension The $5M difference in QO’s from Tatum’s and Langford’s is because of where each player was picked in the draft. Tatum being a #3 overall pick, and Langford being a #14 overall pick is where that disparity comes from.
- Vincent Poirier
Vincent Poirier is new to the NBA, but not pro ball. He’s 25 years old and most recently played for France during the World Cup. He’s a rim running athletic big who signed a 2 year- $5M contract. Since his average salary during the two years he’s under contract comes out to about $2.5M, he’s up for a QO worth about $3.2M in the 2021-2022.
- Grant Williams
The man that everybody loves. One of the fan favorites for years to come hopefully. And in my opinion, the next Al Horford. Williams signed a 2 year- $4.8M contract. He is in a similar situation like Langford, two years of team options and then a QO in 2023-24 season. That QO should roughly be about $6M. If Grant contributes to winning like I think he will, this could be one of the best contracts on the team (just wait, there will be a better contract than this coming up soon).
What I’m looking forward to the most from Williams is his leadership, and his corner 3 ball improvement. I’m also really curious to see how well he will do when being backed down by a true center like Andre Drummond. We know he’s got grown man strength already, but would he be able to stone wall someone like Drummond.
- Robert Williams
The Timelord doesn’t care about your silly contracts because time is relative. He’s a Celtic forever. Joking aside, Williams is on his 2nd year of his rookie deal, which was a 2 year- $3.5M contract. He’ll have a team option the next two years worth $2M and $3.6M respectively. He’ll then be up for a QO in 2022-2023 worth about $5M.
If he can provide interior defense like he has in his limited time, and gets a bit better around the rim finishing lay ups and baby hooks, he should be a pretty serviceable player. But as of now he’s just a skinny lob catching big who can block anything but also get bullied down low.
- Semi Ojeleye
Ojeleye is my favorite player on the team! He came in with Tatum before the ’17-’18 season. He signed a 3 year- $4.2M contract. This could be his last year on the Boston Celtics as his contract ends this year; if the Celtics decide to not pick up the team option they have on him for the 2020-21 season. That team option is worth about $1.7M. My personal prediction is that the option does get picked up. Having a good defender who can shoot is always a plus, especially one for that cheap.
- Brad Wanamaker
Depth at the point guard position is important. That’s why the Boston Celtics resigned Wanamaker to a 1 year- $1.4M contract. He was signed on a veterans minimum. When signing a veterans minimum that contract does not count against the cap. He will be eligible for a QO worth about $1.9M. I think Wanamaker deserved some more minutes than he received last year. He provided good pace when he did play. The offense seemed to flow pretty well when he was on the court. I would hope he gets more minutes this year but it also depends how much they value getting Carsen Edwards minutes and developing him as well.
- Carsen Edwards
Carsen, in my opinion, is going to be on one of the best contracts not only in the eyes of the Celtics, but in the eyes of the entire league. Edwards inked a 3 year- $4.5M contract. The Celtics also included a team option for the 2022-2023 season for a hair under $2M. If they like the way Edwards is developing as a player, they can add a 4th year.
Carsen Edwards is the type of volume scorer the Boston Celtics will need off the bench. He can light it up from anywhere on the court. He isn’t the best play maker yet but that should come with experience. Despite his size (6’1″) he doesn’t play like a small player. He has the strength to guard some of the bigger guys. Also his wingspan, awareness, help instincts, quickness, footwork, and hips are all positive assets of his defensive ability. He shouldn’t get bodied by PGs or smaller 2 guards.
- Guerschon Yabusele
Yabusele is still on the Boston Celtics books. He will continue to be until the end of the 2021-2022 season. He’s going to be making $1M each of those years. Glad to see “Yabu Daboo” do is still getting paid.
- Tacko Fall
Most of you who have made it this far down the article are just looking for this specific name in bold! So Fall is on a different type of contract. He’s on what is called an “Exhibit 10” contract. I’m not sure why it’s called that but I can tell you what it is.
An Exhibit 10 contract is basically a training camp contract that can be converted to a two-way contract if the team chooses to do so. It’s non-guaranteed (around $800k) and doesn’t count towards the salary cap.
To put it simply there’s four options for Tacko Fall’s future with the Celtics. He either A) gets converted into a two-way (means he plays for both the Celtics and Maine Red Claws during the season, which also means Max Strus or Tremont Waters gets waived, likely Strus if picking between the two) or B) Fall gets waived at the end of the preseason and make him a designated player for the G League, meaning he only plays for the Red Claws the whole season. Or C) Fall doesn’t play for the Celtics or Red Claws anymore after the preseason. Or D) Fall earns the Celtics’ final roster spot.
We’re all pulling for option A I think. Well at least I am.
- Javonte Green
Javonte Green is basically in the exact same situation as Tacko. So for those who enjoyed watching the high flyer during the Summer League, the Celtics are going to have to pick between the two of them, most likely, unless one of the two ends up as the 15th spot on the roster.
- Demetrius Jackson
DJ is probably a name you didn’t expect to read here. But he’s here and so is his $90K a year up until the 2023-2024 season. It’s hard to type this but $90k is a pretty negligible amount; nothing to worry about as far as taking up cap room. At least it isn’t like the Loul Deng situation the Lakers were dealing with this off-season.
- Max Strus and Tremont Waters
Both players are on two-way deals. They can always get waived before the season starts if the Celtics feel they’d rather have someone else on a two way deal. The amount they get paid all depends on how many games they spend at the NBA level vs how many games they spend with the Maine Red Claws.
- Brad Stevens
Coach’s contract isn’t part of the cap or anything, I just thought I’d touch on it for those who are curious. In 2013 Stevens signed a 6 year- $22M contract. Which would be up at the end of this year except he signed a 3 year extension in May of 2016. So we still get to enjoy a few more years of Brad.
We all like to talk about how much cap room we’re going to have during the off-season, so I’ll keep this one short and sweet. If Hayward and Kanter both opt into their player options, the Celtics won’t have any cap room. But if they both opt out (unlikely) they would have about $38.3M; which is more than enough for a max slot.
The only moves they’d be able to make would be via trade. The season after that are when things get interesting (2021-2022), how much cap room they will have is entirely dependent on if they choose to give Jaylen an extension, and if they do, for how much? Also that will be the first year without the Hayward contract on the books. They’ll also have team options on Langford and Williams (Grant and Robert). So if the Boston Celtics do choose to “blow it up” they can do so pretty organically without having to trade away any assets.
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