The Celtics have already put the finishing touches on their offseason maneuvering after assembling a roster of 15 players with guaranteed deals. They managed to do this without touching their taxpayer mid-level exception, which is worth $5.3 million for the 2018-19 season. Much like the disabled player exception last season (which the Celtics were awarded after Gordon Hayward went down for the year), the MLE will be a tool for the Celtics to use during buyout season in February to try to entice a useful player to join a loaded squad for a deep playoff run.
Having extra cash came in handy last year for the C’s (at least during the regular season) when Greg Monroe took $5 million to sign with Boston in February after being bought out by Phoenix. Monroe turned down more potential playing time in New Orleans for the extra dough.
The question that is intriguing to explore now around the league is which projected playoff teams also are maintaining a stash of cash to potentially bid against the Celtics in the buyout market. Let’s take a look at how the contenders in both conferences are positioning themselves on this front to see where the Celtics stand if/when they are ready to spend.
No money left to offer free agents besides the league minimum: