How an impacted salary cap will affect the Boston Celtics in 2020 free agency

With the obvious effects of the NBA season being suspended already showing, the long-term impact of this work stoppage could mean less spending power and lower salaries. What will that mean for the Boston Celtics?

We are all trying to adjust to the new normal of this post-Coronavirus outbreak world we live in. It’s not easy getting used to working from home and social distancing, but it is also not easy having the Boston Celtics to distract us from the every day hardships we face.

Just as it is hard for fans now, things are getting complicated for the players and other team staff during this unprecedented period of uncertainty and fear. Players and staff stand to lose money for every game that is cancelled and not made up.

In fact, cancelling out the season altogether still hasn’t been ruled out as a possibility.

Things are nuclear for every team in a professional sense, let alone a personal sense. Remember, the NBA has been hit hardest of any other sport when it comes to recognizable names testing positive for COVID-19.

Even Marcus Smart of your Boston Celtics has been named to have come down with the virus. We don’t know when things will be normal again and games will begin, but you can’t help but feel 2020 free agency has been turned on its head with the season hanging in suspension.

If the salary cap is lowered, that means teams will be able to give out less money to free agents, but will have less money to spend themselves. What does that mean for the Celtics exactly?

Well for starters, Gordon Hayward is almost assuredly going to opt into his $34 million player option. Though the season left many questions unanswered, it did give teams pause to dishing out a max deal to a player who missed more than a quarter of the season with various injuries–one being a broken hand.

With Hayward opting in, the team will have little money to spend elsewhere. Instead of being able to add a player in the $10-12 million range like a Montrezl Harrell or a Paul Milsap, they will likely be in the market for players making half that much.

Someone who could qualify is Semi Ojeleye. Ojeleye has been with the team for three seasons now, and could see that continuity pay off in free agency. Enes Kanter has a $5 million player option that he looks far more likely to pick up after injuries robbed him of much of the 2019-20 campaign as well.

With so many rookies signed–and with two playing the point guard position–Brad Wanamaker is the one remaining domino. Signed twice by Danny Ainge after a career overseas, Wanamaker’s steady presence could be leaned on in times of uncertainty. Ainge may view him as a much safer option than potential free agent targets like Isaiah Thomas or Ish Smith.

In conclusion, if the NBA season really is done, we could see minimal changes from the Boston Celtics. Even if a truncated season and playoffs happen, it is very unlikely the team will have much money to spend on anyone other than the incumbents. Ainge has shown this season through not making any trades or buyout signings that he likes this roster, so time will tell if that remains true.