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Friday, July 1, 2011
Insider: Worst cap situations

By Chris Forsberg | @ESPNForsberg | Email

ESPN Insider examined the payroll situations for every NBA team this offseason and suggested that the likes of the Celtics, Lakers, Magic, and Mavericks are likely to endure the greatest roster inflexibility this summer (or whenever the offseason officially takes place). Here's a glimpse at their Boston breakdown:

BOSTON CELTICS

6 players under contract: Ray Allen, Avery Bradley, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo
Total payroll: $64.37 million
1 waived player: Rasheed Wallace
Total: $491,109
1 free-agent cap hold: Jeff Green
Total: $13,367,964 (300 percent previous salary)
1 first-round cap hold: JaJuan Johnson (No. 27)
Total: $895,700 (rookie scale)
Other: 3 minimum roster charges
Total: $1,470,540
Estimated over the cap: $22.56 million
Notes: The Celtics already have about $64.86 million on the books for next season with just six players under contract plus Wallace's buyout. They can get to eight signed players by agreeing to deals with their first-round pick, Johnson, and restricted free agent Green. They can also bring back Glen Davis. However, it seems that both sides want to part ways. The rest of the squad will be signed to minimum contracts if the new collective bargaining agreement eliminates the midlevel and million-dollar exceptions. They can also bring back a player who makes no more than $2.488 million by using the trade exception from Marquis Daniels. In terms of dollars and roster parity, this is a top-heavy situation.

* Forsberg's thoughts: Don't immediately dismiss the idea of Davis being back in Boston. While the Celtics don't want to impede the cap flexibility they are scheduled to enjoy after the 2011-12 season (when the likes of Garnett, Allen, and O'Neal will come off the books), a short-term, reasonable-money deal for Davis isn't out of the question. Boston also boasts full Bird Rights to Davis, which means they can pay him up to a maximum contract or use that leverage to explore the idea of a sign-and-trade deal (maybe netting a veteran with an expiring contract in return). Yes, any such move will add even more money to what Boston is already committed to spend, but if it helps keep the team competitive in what's almost certainly the final year of the Big Three, it might be worth it (particularly any one-year deal that maintains cap flexibility next offseason). The Celtics spent $76.2 million last season, zipping past the luxury tax threshold ($70 million) and will need to pay dollar for dollar for going over the cap. On the surface, the Celtics might not have much flexibility this offseason, but there are moves the deep-pocketed team can make to remain a championship contender.