The Boston Celtics have now, officially, waived all of their training camp invitees. The roster has been cut down to 14 players. Chris Babb’s tenure as a Boston Celtic is over for now.
Yesterday, it was announced that the Celtics had waived Kammron Taylor, DeShawn Sims and Damen Bell-Holter. Now, Chris Babb is out too. We profiled Chris Babb here at Hardwood Houdini in the Fight for 15 series.
Babb was the most productive player out of any of the training camp invites this preseason. He played 5.0 minutes per game and scored 3.0 points per game.
Danny Ainge has hinted that Babb’s release was for salary cap reasons, though. ESPN Boston’s Chris Foresberg reported that Ainge wants to stay under the cap.
As president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reaffirmed on Thursday, the team will remain under the luxury tax this season as it navigates the first year of a transition process. The Celtics have 14 guaranteed contracts for a total salary commitment of approximately $71.2 million (and it jumps to $71.6 million for tax purposes). The luxury tax line this season is $71.75 million.
“Right now we’re barely under the luxury tax, so we really have no choice,” said Ainge. “We will stay under the tax this year. We have to. As we’re rebuilding, not just from a standpoint of the financial budget, but as a competitive advantage.”
By staying under the tax this season, the Celtics will put themselves in position to collect the rebate that non-taxpaying teams reap (splitting a portion of the money spent by taxpayers). When you consider the bloated bill the Nets alone will pay this season, it’s a good season to be below the tax. Staying under the tax can also help Boston avoid repeater penalties moving forward.
Ainge is more concerned about the future of this team rather than the now. Chris Babb would have only been apart of the now and that would’ve kept the Celtics above the salary cap. They’re down to 14 players–which isn’t a thin roster by any means.
They have the players that they want on the roster to see what they can do for Boston in the long term. At this point, that’s all they need.
There’s still a possibility that all four training camp invites get a shot at the Celtics’ D-League affiliate team, the Maine Red Claws. The Celtics will still have close ties to all of these players so that in case anyone goes down they’ll have someone to fill a spot.
There’s also a chance, though, that another team picks them up. Or they may choose to go overseas for financial reasons. They have to do what is best for them–at the end of the day the NBA is a business. Loyalty is awesome, but it isn’t going to put food on the table.