Roster reset: Filling out the roster
July, 13, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
Elsa/Getty ImagesAfter his 2011-12 season was cut short, Chris Wilcox gets another chance with the Celtics.With forward/center Chris Wilcox coming back to Boston next season, the Celtics now have 12 players on board for the 2012-13 season. Our updated glance at where the team's roster and finances stand with the latest move:
SIGNED FOR 2012-13 WITH SALARY ESTIMATES (11)
Guards: Rajon Rondo ($11 million), Avery Bradey ($1.6 million), Jason Terry ($5 million*)
Forwards: Paul Pierce ($16.8 million), Brandon Bass ($6.8 million*), Jeff Green ($9 million*), JaJuan Johnson ($1.1 million), Jared Sullinger ($1.3 million**)
Center: Kevin Garnett ($11 million*), Chris Wilcox ($854,389***), Fab Melo ($1.3 million**)
NON-GUARANTEED 2012-13 CONTRACTS (3)
E'Twaun Moore ($760,000); Kris Joseph ($473,604); Sean Williams ($915,000)
FREE AGENTS FROM 2011-12 SEASON (7)
Restricted: Greg Stiemsma ($1.1 million)
Unrestricted: Keyon Dooling, Mickael Pietrus, Marquis Daniels, Sasha Pavlovic, Ryan Hollins, Jermaine O'Neal
Estimated total salary committed to guaranteed contracts: $66.2 million
(* = Estimated salary; ** = 120% of rookie scale; *** = League pays portion of veteran minimum deal)
The usual caveats here: None of the Celtics' offseason moves have been finalized and we're still awaiting official contract values. Barring an unexpected use of the biannual exception, Wilcox would be a minimum deal of $1.35 million for a 10-year veteran (though the league picks up a large portion of that move, putting Boston on the hook for merely 63 percent of the total value (teams only pay the amount of a second-year veteran on one-year, veteran-minimum deals). Last year he played for the taxpayers' mini-midlevel exception of $3 million.
So the Celtics remain comfortably above the cap, but still about $8 million away from the luxury tax threshold. That gives them some wiggle room in pursuit of another shooting guard, particularly if they simply guarantee the likes of E'Twaun Moore to help fill out the roster on low-cost deals.
The question everyone seems to want to know is can Boston still make a run at O.J. Mayo or Courtney Lee. Yes, but as we've stressed in this space before, it's anything but easy.
Despite the fact that the free-agency moratorium lifted on Wednesday, the Celtics have not finalized their deals while hammering out the necessary details to make those official.
We know the Celtics have lusted over Lee, evident by the fact that he met with coach Doc Rivers last week. The team does not have anything beyond the biannual exception (max two years, $4.1 million) to entice Lee and, therefore, it's more likely they would explore a sign-and-trade with Houston in order to bump his salary to a desirable level. Trouble there is that, even then, Boston has limited avenues with which to facilitate a deal (hop HERE for more).
There's also a small possibility to work out a sign-and-trade deal with Dallas, which would free the team to use its midlevel exception ($5 million) on a player like Lee or Mayo without having it committed to Terry. Much like the difficulties with the Houston deal, the Celtics have less-than-attractive means of trying to facilitate that scenario, even if it sweetens the pot for Dallas by offering up draft picks (the Mavericks would have to absorb bodies and, keep in mind, that any player in a sign-and-trade must be inked for three years, even if only the first is guaranteed).
The loss of Ray Allen has increased the need for a frontline shooting guard, particularly with Avery Bradley potentially sidelined for the start of the regular season as he recuperates from a pair of offseason shoulder surgeries. Boston is exploring creative avenues with which to defray the loss of Allen, but their cap situation makes things difficult to navigate. Alas, the alternative is likely setting for a minimum-contract veteran.