Summer Forecast: Gone by October?
August, 13, 2014
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY SportsEach weekday for a three-week span, our summer panel of prognosticators -- a motley crew featuring our friends in the Celtics blogging community -- will join forces to tell you how the 2014-15 season will play out for Boston. We'll gaze into our crystal balls and attempt to answer all your questions before this season's team even hits the floor together for the first time.
Today's Celtics Summer Forecast topic: Which player won't make the opening-day roster?
The Celtics are currently overstocked with 18 players signed for the upcoming season. Between now and opening night, the team must trim down (or below) a league maximum of 15 bodies. That means at least three players currently on the roster will not be here, though there's plenty of possibilities in how Boston could pare down, many of which hinge on finding willing trade partners.
The Celtics do have three players on nonguaranteed deals including last year's D-League call-ups in Chris Johnson and Chris Babb. If Boston is unable to find a deal for higher salary players, those two seem most at risk to be cut because of their nonguaranteed nature (and hence why they were left off the list of potential options in this poll).
Our panel was asked to choose from six options: (1) Brandon Bass; (2) Jeff Green; (3) Keith Bogans; (4) Marcus Thornton; (5) Joel Anthony; (6) None of the players listed. Here's a glance at our panel voting, with Bogans the heavy favorite to depart (and neither Thornton nor Anthony received a vote):
This writer's guess? While simply waiving Bogans would be the path of least resistance, we've maintained that it would be a waste of a trade asset to go that route. We fully expect the Celtics will investigate all other options in hopes of maximizing the return on Bogans, even if that means carrying him at the start of the 2014-15 season.
With that in mind, we believe Bass remains the most likely candidate to depart. The Celtics have reportedly been willing to part with him in past deals and, while he's a versatile player with an excellent work ethic, he also plays a position that Boston is well-stocked at with young talent that needs additional minutes.
Alas, it takes two willing partners for any trade dance. If Boston can't find an interested team before the start of the season, it might have to considering simply shedding Bogans and investigating in-season trade options for Bass when teams might be more eager to load up before the deadline.
Read on to see how our panel voted:
Jeff Clark, CelticsBlog (Bass)
Rumors have the Celtics looking to move Bass and it makes sense. He doesn't fit the long term plan and he stands in the way of younger players.
Michael Pina, CelticsHub (Bogans)
Keith Bogans' contract is the most desirable in a trade, being that his $5.3 million deal is completely nonguaranteed with no guarantee date next season. Any team looking to get below the luxury tax would love this piece.
Cory Prescott, CLNS Radio (Jeff Green)
There are many options in this category, which attests to the uncertainty regarding this year’s roster. After Paul George went down with his horrific injury during the Team USA intrasquad scrimmage, it makes sense for the Pacers to trade for Green. Even with George, and the recently departed Lance Stephenson, Indiana was one of the worst offensive teams to compete in the playoffs. The Celtics have agreed to a deal for Evan Turner, and still have the unfortunate task of finding Gerald Wallace some playing time. Youngster James Young will also hopefully factor into the small forward discussion as the season moves along.
Bill Sy (Bogans)
As attractive as Bass' contract and mid-range game is to a contender, most teams looking at him probably have somebody already on their roster who they'll start the season with. Bass is the kind of P.J. Brown-type pickup that teams wait until midseason to get. It has to be Keith Bogans. His contract is nonguaranteed, Ainge has to cut the roster down from 18 to 15 and Bogans' attitude banished him from the locker room last season. He'll either get traded for a pick or cut outright.
Padraic O'Connor, CelticsLife.com (Bass)
Bass is coming off of a very productive season for the Celtics and entering the final year of a contract that will pay him $6.9M in 2014-15. He has a tremendous work ethic, is a valuable teammate, and is a consistent contributor on offense and defense. While recent reports claim the Celtics are having trouble finding interest for Bass, I think a it is more of an question of “when” than “if” he will be traded. Of all the players mentioned, Bass holds the most value.
Kevin O'Connor, CelticsBlog (Bogans)
Even though Boston doesn’t have to rush into trading Bogans, why would they waste a roster spot on him just for the chance of a trade? If Bogans isn’t traded by mid-October, he will probably be cut loose. Trading Green or Bass might be enticing, but their value will be higher during the regular season once teams start looking for valuable impact bench players in trades.
Julian Edlow, WEEI.com (Bogans)
Green and Bass are the two most attractive trade chips of the group. However, it sounds like Danny Ainge’s asking price might be too high on both of them. With that said, the amount of guaranteed contracts on the team leaves no space for Keith Bogans unless one of those players is moved before October. Bogans can be cut at anytime with no repercussions, which sounds like the most likely option at the moment.
Mark Vandeusen, CelticsLife (None)
I'd like to say Green or Bass, but, in reality, if the C's were going to find a trade partner for one of those guys this offseason, it probably would have happened already. I feel the same way about Keith Bogan's nonguaranteed contract; it might be too late for Boston to find a taker and, at this point, he'll probably just end up being cut. I'd love to see the Celtics make another move so they can hang on to Chris Johnson, but as far as trades go I'll predict we don't see any more before the start of the season.
Jay O., Red's Army (Bass)
Toss-up between Bogans and Bass, but since Bass is on an expiring deal and can actually play, a contender might add him.
Jared Weiss, CLNS Radio (None)
All of these players will be on the opening-night roster. Yes, even Bogans. Although the Celtics need to shed his salary to get under the luxury tax, that tax is measured based on the team’s salary after their last regular-season game. Therefore, the Celtics have a few months to cut or ship off Bogans for a trade exception before his paid salary would force the Celtics over the tax. The likelihood that they could find a trade just before the season is unlikely, so look for the roster to stay pat after cuts to Chris Babb and Chris Johnson. After Bogans, the next likely player to go is Vitor Faverani, who struggled through injury and faced a series of issues on and off the court since coming to Boston. Look for the Brazilian center to be packaged in any larger deal since his deal is nonguaranteed next year.
Also voting: Brian Robb, CelticsHub (Bogans); Tom Westerholm, CelticsHub (Bogans); KWAPT, Red's Army (Bogans).
Your turn: We invite you join the conversation. Sound off in the comments about who you think will be gone by the start of the 2014-15 season?
(Chris Forsberg can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ESPNForsberg. Hop HERE to submit a question for his Celtics Mailbag.)