Jul 5, 2013; Waltham, MA, USA; New Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, right, shares a laugh with General Manager Danny Ainge during a news conference announcing Stevens new position. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Celtics’ cap situation for this season is pretty much set in stone. They still have the majority of their mid-level exception to play with, but they aren’t really looking to make any impact signings that will get them into the playoffs.
The team that you see right now isn’t the one that you’ll get going into the season, but its pretty damn close. We can expect to see a few cuts or trades at the most from this team for the rest of the offseason. They’re sitting on a payroll of $72.5 million for this upcoming season.
That puts the Celtics way over the cap right now. The salary cap is set at $58.6 million next season and the threshold to which a team can spend before it hits the tax is at $71.7 million for next season. That puts the Celtics slightly over that.
What about heading into next season? Will things be the same? Well, not quite. The Celtics aren’t going to be out of salary cap prison quite yet, but they’ll still be at a lesser total than they will this season. And still, there’s a way for the Celtics to quicken the rebuilding process through free agency if they choose to do so.
The Celtics are on the books for $46,460,735 in guaranteed money next offseason. They have team options in which they can choose to accept with Fab Melo, Jared Sullinger and Marshon Brooks. Their options alone are worth $4,971,514 for next season. So if they do choose to accept them, they will be closer to the salary cap floor in 2014.
They will have $6,788,169 in qualifying offers to send to Jordan Crawford and Avery Bradley. Its likely that Bradley will be retained–not so much for Crawford. But for this scenario, we’ll say that the Celtics choose to retain Jordan Crawford.
Then, they’ll have Keith Bogans, Phil Pressey and Vitor Faverani who all have unguaranteed contracts in 2014. Its likely that Bogans will be bought out to make room for a player who will contribute. Pressy and Faverani’s contracts aren’t worth too much here, but every dollar counts.
When you total all of the possible players that the Celtics could be paying next season, they would have a payroll of $65.4 million in 2014. That is $8.1 million less than this season, but still it would be over the cap.
Again, the Celtics have a mid-level exception they could play with. And they also have a trade exception from the trade with the Brooklyn Nets. The difference between Paul Pierce’s $15.3 million salary and Keith Bogans $5 million salary makes up that exception. So the Celtics will have a little over $10 million to play with during next year’s offseason with this exception. They have to have these players signed by July 12th of next season or else the exception will expire. They can always move it in a deal for a key player as well.
Still, the Celtics will have more cap woes than the surface shows next season. They’ll be facing $31,123,653 in cap holds next season when their free agents hit the market. They can always renounce the rights to these players, but these holds mean that the Celtics will be facing at least $77.7 million when free agency starts.
Kris Humphries cap hold is worth $18 million alone so the Celtics will likely renounce his deal as soon as free agency begins to free themselves up some. They’d be at $59.7 million on the year and would be closer to the cap. If they take things a step further and renounce Jordan Crawford and Shavlik Randolph, the Celtics will surely be under the salary cap and have lots of room to wiggle.
With the trade exception included, the Celtics could be a big player if any superstar becomes available. Should they keep Rajon Rondo, they’d have a superstar to lure another into town. The $10.3 million exception could be exactly what is needed. It looks like Paul Pierce left us with a parting gift, after all.