The biggest offseason for the Celtics in decades has arrived, far earlier than most people would have anticipated. After the Celtics arguably went through the worst case scenario for the 2018-19 season, huge questions now wait for the front office this summer as they attempt to define the direction of the franchise. After years of building patiently towards contention, the team’s only All-Star is at risk of walking away without compensation for the franchise, setting the stage for a July where eight players on the team will be free agents.
What do the team’s cap and draft situation look like? We will be going through the nitty gritty of countless scenarios in the coming weeks here at BSJ but to get you ready of the circumstances that Danny Ainge has to work with, let’s breakdown everything you need to know about the Celtics offseason.
Players under contract for 2019-20
Gordon Hayward: $32.7 million
Marcus Smart: $12.6 million
Jayson Tatum: $7.8 million
Jaylen Brown: $6.5 million
Guerschon Yabusele: $3.1 million
Robert Williams: $1.9 million
Semi Ojeleye: $1.3 million
Guaranteed money committed: $65.9 million to seven players
NBA Salary Cap Projection: $109 million
Luxury Tax Projection: $132 million
BSJ Analysis: Outside of Hayward, the Celtics have as good of a cap sheet as one could hope for. Tatum and Brown continue to be some of the best bargains in the NBA on their current deals, although the fact that Brown just has one year left on his rookie contract will limit his trade value to a degree. He’s eligible to sign an extension up until October 31st, something the Celtics have not done with a restricted free agent-to-be since 2009. Tatum has two years left on his deal before becoming a restricted free agent.
Smart’s contract has turned from a potential overpay to a bargain based on his progression on the offensive end of the floor this year. The fact that the C’s locked him up for three more years makes him a significant trade chip or a good building block for this team in the backcourt for years to come. Yabusele is overpaid as a fringe NBA player but that option was picked last October more for salary matching trade purposes than anything else. I’d be very surprised to see him on the roster next year. Williams and Ojeleye remain on bargain basement deals, with Ojeleye potentially in line for a big opportunity off the bench next year if Marcus Morris isn’t retained.
Player options (Decision must be made by June 29th)