Why the Boston Celtics should keep their 15th roster spot open

Boston Celtics Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

Brad Stevens, the President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics, has made flexibility a cornerstone of his approach to team management. This philosophy is exemplified by his decision to keep the 15th roster spot open during the upcoming training camp, and it’s a move that can significantly benefit the Celtics in various ways.

One primary reason for keeping the roster spot open is the unpredictability of the NBA landscape. Trades and opportunities can arise at any moment, and having an available roster spot provides the Cs with the agility needed to capitalize on these situations.

Stevens has shown a penchant for making shrewd moves, whether through trades or free-agent signings like Sam Hauser. By maintaining flexibility, the Celtics can jump on opportunities that may not have been anticipated.

Furthermore, the Boston Celtics have a $5.2 million trade exception resulting from the Grant Williams sign-and-trade from the previous summer. This trade exception allows them to acquire players via trade without matching salaries.

Importantly, they can also use this exception to sign a player off waivers during the season, giving them a potential advantage in acquiring talent later in the year. This versatility can prove invaluable in a league where rosters and team needs can change rapidly.

Stevens has a track record of utilizing such flexibility. In the previous season, armed with a substantial $17.2 million trade exception, he kept his options open. Although that particular exception didn’t yield any immediate results, the logic behind it was sound. It demonstrated a willingness to explore opportunities and adapt to evolving circumstances.

The Boston Celtics also have several players on partially guaranteed contracts, including Dalano Banton, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, and Luke Kornet. These contracts offer some financial flexibility but may require time to clear a roster spot, potentially causing delays in pursuing a target player.

By having an open roster spot, the Celtics can swiftly capitalize on opportunities without the need for time-consuming roster adjustments.

In the pursuit of an NBA championship, depth is crucial. While elite top-end talent is vital, having a strong bench and versatile role players can make a difference in the playoffs. Last season, Boston faced issues with wing depth during the Eastern Conference Finals, particularly in Game 7 when Jayson Tatum suffered an injury.

A lack of high-quality replacements on the bench hindered their performance. Keeping the 15th roster spot open allows the team to address potential weaknesses in its roster composition.

It’s also important to recognize that Stevens is still relatively new to his role in the front office. Last season marked only his second year in this capacity, and understanding how to maximize flexibility requires a learning curve.

The 15th roster spot doesn’t necessarily mean the player acquired will be the 15th in the rotation; it represents an opportunity to play the long game. The Celtics can hope for a seasoned veteran to become available later in the season, possibly becoming the final piece in their championship puzzle.

Keeping the 15th roster spot open is a sign of Brad Stevens’ commitment to flexibility with the Boston Celtics

In summary, Brad Stevens’ decision to keep the 15th roster spot open during training camp for the Boston Celtics underscores his commitment to flexibility. It allows the team to remain nimble, ready to seize opportunities in the ever-evolving NBA landscape.

With trade exceptions, partially guaranteed contracts, and the potential for late-season acquisitions, the open roster spot positions the Celtics to make strategic moves that could enhance their championship aspirations.

In the pursuit of Banner 18, the Boston Celtics are ensuring they have all the tools necessary to contend at the highest level.