The Boston Celtics are not done with offseason changes. We know this because they currently have 17 players on guaranteed contracts, two more than teams are allowed to carry into the regular season. Zoran Dragic is likely to get waived, but that still leaves at least one more player Danny Ainge will need to move.
But who? And how?
Let’s break it down:
1. The Perry Jones situation
If the Celtics decide to waive someone, they will need to swallow guaranteed money. That would not be a huge issue since they would still be under the luxury-tax threshold, but it also would not qualify as ideal. Plus, who would they waive?
At the time the team acquired Perry Jones, the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett reported Jones will “get a good, long look, but he’s no sure bet to be on the Celtics’ roster opening night.” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge may have implied a similar message, saying, among other things, “We’ll see how (Jones) fits in with our system.” It’s worth noting the Thunder couldn’t find any team willing to part with an asset for Jones. To dump his salary, they were forced to give the Celtics a future second-round pick. That would be why waiving him, rather than trading him, might be an option.
One problem with potentially waiving Jones: largely an unknown commodity, the 23-year-old theoretically possesses a load of untapped potential. During his time with the Thunder, James Harden called Jones “probably the most athletic (player) on the team” — while the team featured Russell (bleeping) Westbrook — and Kevin Durant labeled Jones the best athlete in the league. The 6-foot-11 Jones is a long, versatile wing who has strung together some impressive stretches on NBA courts, and there’s a chance he could look substantially better in Brad Stevens’ system. This is a guy with tools.
If not Jones, the Celtics don’t have many realistic waiving options. They just signed three rookies and almost everyone else on the roster is capable of contributing. The possible exception to that, James Young, still hasn’t turned 20 and was drafted just a bit outside the lottery last season. Despite an underwhelming summer league performance, it’s too early to give up on a long, athletic wing with a pretty shooting stroke. I’ve been assured Ainge remains high on Young’s potential.
2. Trade possible?
Before forcing the Celtics owners to swallow guaranteed money, Ainge …Read More