Boston Celtics Pick Up Player Options


The Boston Celtics during the late hours of Friday night, announced that they picked up the player options on sophomore guard Marcus Smart, guard James Young and forward Kelley Olynyk. While it is a no brainer  that Marcus Smart’s player option was picked up, it is a bit of a surprise that Olynyk and Young’s options were ultimately used. If I was the general manager, I’m not so sure if I would have done that for both players. However, Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing, and these move might actually be better for the team moving forward.

The biggest aspect as to why all three players’ options were picked up, is due to the fact that they are all still on their rookie deals. That means all three are relatively cheap when it comes to cap implications. Of course, the cap will be increasing next offseason, and I doubt that any of these players will break the bank (especially with these options picked up), but it gives the team time to plan their next acquisition.

Ainge loves having cap flexibility with the team, and this move will give the Celtics more freedom to sign their own players as well as upcoming free agents in the future. Now the Celtics will not have to worry about what to do with any of these players at least until the 2017-18 season (where they will have to make an extension decision on Olynyk).

So thinking ahead for the next couple of years, the Celtics will have to think over if they want to keep any of the three players they made a move on last night. Again Smart’s situation is obvious, he could be the biggest part of the Celtics future (potentially). So the front office felt that they needed to keep him no matter what. However, I’ll be curious to see how the team feels about Young and Olynyk in the future.

Everything I see and hear on TV and social media makes me believe that Ainge will give Olynyk a new contract when he’s due. While he isn’t an elite rebounding prospect, he offers a nice skill set when you look on the offensive end. He can shoot well from the outside which is always a desirable trait for an NBA team. His career so far hasn’t been horrible either with it reading 9.4 points, 5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 47 percent shooting from the floor. He’s been getting better year after after year (in his two years), and it will be a focus point of mine to see how well he can perform during this season. If he continues to improve then the Celtics will have to give him a contract extension.

The front office picking up the player option for Young isn’t a surprise to some. But Celtics fans aren’t exactly sure what the team is getting with the former Wildcat considering the lack of playing time he’s had. He only played 31 games in his rookie season and hasn’t played yet this season. There is a ton of raw talent when it comes to his offensive game. While he hasn’t “wowed” many on his defensive merits, he still has the potential to turn into the players that people expected him to be (Bill Simmons fist pump and all).

I may be a little ahead of the curve when it comes to criticizing Young, I realize that. It’s more the draft experts fault about all this expectations fans (and myself) had with Young. He’s still trying to figure things out, so why not keep him in Boston to see if he can gain some confidence. If he can’t during his four-year rookie contract, then the team simply moves on. I agree that there is just too much potential to let go.

Marcus Smart could very well turn into the franchise player Boston has desperately wanted all these years. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

I won’t go on to long about how great this move is locking up Smart. The team will have the sophomore guard for another two years after this season which sounds delightful (for the fans). There isn’t much to elaborate about Smart’s future considering he might become a franchise player on Celtics. FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO System has his on the same career path as James Harden and Paul George, so there’s a ton of potential that could blossom in Smart. This is why the Celtics had to keep him and made this move as easy as it can get for an NBA franchise.

Like I said before these options are cheap compared to the kind of demand (money wise) there is for former first-round picks. It can be difficult to re-sign them when they are unrestricted free agents. Olynyk’s cap hit will be at $4.2 million, Young’s cap hit will be at $2.8 million, and Smart’s cap hit will be at $4.5 million next season. This young core will cost nearly $12 million, which is a great value if these prospects turn out to what Ainge hopes them to be. If they don’t turn out to be the kind of player fans want, it’s still at a relatively cheap cost.

Some evidence has been provided that shows a lot of positive signs about drafting the kind of players the Celtics have the past few drafts. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight analyzed how drafting college prospects in their sophomore year might project better in the short run than freshmen prospects.  The Celtics have three on the roster like that so far (Smart, Olynyk, and Jared Sullinger). Those kind of players are projected to have an 11 percent better Win Share value than their freshmen counter parts (according to the article). That won’t always be the case, but the numbers shown by Silver are great if you are a fan of the Celtics. So not only are the Celtics drafting smarter, they are getting a high value for the short term. So if the player becomes a liability they can simple just let him play out his rookie deal and leave it at that.

This is an important step the Celtics took to help their future. Keeping tabs on young talent and keeping them relatively cheap is a huge plus. I’m not surprised that that Celtics picked up the options on all three players, due to how the front office does not want any slips up in losing prospects.

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Hopefully fans can soon see James Young turn into a role player that Brad Stevens needs to use this season (proving it was worth picking up his option). That would then make all of these players become important contributors as the team progresses. It’s the best move the team could have made, and now there isn’t much to worry about when looking at the young core in Boston.

*All stats and cap numbers courtesy of and

C.J Maffris is a writer for He wants his player option picked up as well. Feel free to follow C.J on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris