Thursday, April 17, 2014
Take 'em or Trash 'em (deluxe edition)
By Chris Forsberg
Our annual after-the-season roster rundown Take 'Em or Trash 'Em debuted Thursday. Since brevity is not our thing, here's a longer look at the future of every player on the Boston Celtics' roster:
• Rajon Rondo: Team captain is set to enter the final year of a contract that will pay him $12.9 million. Rondo has expressed interest in testing unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2015, which means, if he's a Celtics cornerstone, the team has to be ready to pay him big money next summer (otherwise they must at least entertain the idea of trading him this summer). Plan A seems to be building with him and a healthier Rondo plus roster upgrades could thrust Boston back into contender status next season. Take, unless a trade offer is too good to get passed up.
• Jeff Green: Green has two years remaining on a deal that will pay him $9.2 million next season. The inconsistencies leave many ready to pack his bags, but it's so hard to quit him. If we just accept that this is who Green is what he is, a super athletic complementary player with potential for big scoring nights, then there's potential for him to thrive as a third option. Take, unless Boston adds a wing in the draft, then the team has to explore trade interest.
• Brandon Bass: Bass enters the final year of a contract that will pay him $6.9 million. His lunch pail mentality and dedicated work ethic make him an ideal locker room presence. Alas, his position is overstocked with young bodies and his salary clogs up the middle of the payroll a bit. Trash, but only because the team needs upgrades at other positions and Bass could be attractive on the trade market on the final year of his deal.
• Avery Bradley: Bradley will be a restricted free agent after the Celtics extend a $3.6 million qualifying offer. The only issue with Bradley is his health. Fair or not, he wears the tag of injury prone after missing 53 games over the past two seasons. That said, his offensive resurgence this season was encouraging. Take, so long as nobody tries to run up his price tag to a prohibitive level as a restricted free agent.
• Jared Sullinger: Sullinger will enter the third year of his super affordable rookie deal that will pay him a mere $1.4 million next season. Even after back surgery stunted last summer's offseason growth, Sullinger put together an excellent sophomore campaign with a focus on extending his offensive range. Take this All-Star in the making, unless he's an Al Jefferson-like asset in landing the next established superstar.
• Kris Humphries: Humphries is an unrestricted free agent after making a team-high $12 million this past season. Take at a reduced rate, where he's the perfect veteran presence and an ideal backup big man. Even if the open market drives up Humphries' price, he could be a valuable sign-and-trade asset.
• Gerald Wallace: Wallace has two years remaining on a deal that will pay him $10.1 million next season. He won some fans over with his gritty play and the media with his unvarnished opinions on the team's play. Take, if only because no one else is taking that contract at the moment.
• Jerryd Bayless: The NBA vagabond, playing for his fifth team in six seasons, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after making $3.1 million this past season. While he provides combo guard skills and scores in bursts, our gut says trash unless he's willing to play on a minimum deal and lay some roots.
• Phil Pressey: Pressey is set to earn $816,482 next season on a deal that becomes fully guaranteed if not waived by July 15. He probably doesn't have to worry about that barring an influx of ball-handlers. Pressey showcased his play-making skills throughout the season and is a clear take for end-of-the-bench ball-handling.
• Kelly Olynyk: The 13th overall pick in last year's draft will earn $2.1 million next season in the second year of his rookie pact. Like Sullinger, the future appears bright for Olynyk, who let his natural offensive talents take over late in the year. Take and continue his development.
• Vitor Faverani: The 25-year-old Brazilian will earn $2.1 million next season. El Hombre Indestructible proved destructible as knee surgery ended his rookie campaign early. He's a trade option if the roster gets cluttered, but we'll take for a longer look at the fauxhawked big man.
• Chris Johnson: Johnson signed a four-year minimum salary deal that will pay him a nonguaranteed $915,243 next season. He played his way onto the team after a couple 10-day contracts out of the D-League. Take as an end-of-the-bench guy -- provided there's room -- because his energy was infectious and he can push the players in front of him.
• Chris Babb: Like Johnson, Babb signed a four-year deal that will pay him a nonguaranteed $816,482 next season. Babb was a good teammate who worked hard, but trash because he is likely to be a victim of numbers.
• Joel Anthony: Anthony holds a $3.8 million player option for next season that he's almost certain to trigger (unless he believes he can find a team willing to offer more consistent playing time on a longer deal). It might be a moot point. The Celtics would seemingly trash if able to include his salary in a swap.
• Keith Bogans: Bogans, excused from the team in mid-January, is set to earn $5.3 million next season but is unlikely to see a dime. He got paid handsomely this season ($5.1 million) for his part in facilitating the blockbuster swap with the Nets. He'll end up in the trash but likely only after the Celtics use his deal to facilitate a trade that allows the other team to immediate cut salary.
• Brad Stevens: Maybe Danny Ainge put it best on Thursday when he noted, "Brad is maybe the only thing that our whole organization that I’m not concerned about." Take because Stevens has five more years on his contract and can now focus on building off his first season in the NBA.
• Danny Ainge: Ainge didn't give Stevens much to work with given a flawed roster that was rearranged with midseason dealings. Take Ainge and hope he finds the matches for those summer fireworks we keep hearing about that could prevent another year of rebuilding drudgery.