Guerschon Yabusele was on the roster bubble for the Celtics ever since the offseason began. After a tough start to summer league for the 23-year-old power forward, the team is apparently wasting no time in cutting ties with the big man, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports was first to report that Yabusele will be waived by the team.
Moving on from Yabusele this early in the summer comes as a little bit of a surprise. There was no roster crunch at the moment (a team can carry up to 20 players during the offseason) and Yabusele will be owed $3.1 million by the team once he clears waivers. However, this maneuver is likely a nod to helping Yabusele find a new home before his options are limited. The Celtics clearly felt confident he wasn’t going to make the 15-man roster in October despite his guaranteed money and he wasn’t going to be worth keeping around for trade purposes. Rather than waiting until training camp to pull the plug, they did so now, which is something that should help Yabusele's future.
The French power forward will now try to find a landing spot with another NBA team (unlikely) or with a team abroad. However, the more pressing question now for the Celtics is what they will do with the opening. Let’s take a look at the impact of Yabusele’s departure on the team.
What are the cap implications of waiving Yabusele? The Celtics will owe Yabusele $3.1 million that will count as a cap hit towards this season assuming Yabusele is not claimed during waivers. This dead money should not have a meaningful impact for any moves the Celtics can or can’t make. They are comfortably under the luxury tax for now and only have the ability to sign free agents for the veteran’s minimum currently.
Why wouldn’t the Celtics just trade Yabusele instead of waiving him? This would be the preferred route obviously but Yabusele is a negative asset across the league for the money he makes. The Celtics would have had to include a second-round pick per league sources in order to dump him or taken back a contract they didn’t want. Instead of having to use up an asset, the Celtics just simply elected to eat the cap hit and move on.
What are the Celtics’ roster options now with Yabusele now?
Here’s a look at the Celtics current roster setup
Guaranteed contracts (14):
Two-way contracts (2): Tremont Waters, Max Strus (reported)
Exhibit 10 contract (1): Tacko Fall
Ballhandlers: Walker, Smart, Edwards, Wanamaker
Wings: Hayward, Tatum, Brown, Langford,
Undersized bigs: Grant Williams, Ojeleye
Centers: Kanter, Theis, Poirier, Rob Williams
Impact of an open roster spot on the rookies
The Celtics could go a number of different roads right now with the roster spot. The clear name that will come up first with fans is Tacko Fall. The 7-foot-7 center has shown NBA potential in summer league for his rim protection and better than expected mobility. However, the Celtics do not have to do anything with him for the time being. They have Fall's roster rights through training camp on an Exhibit 10 deal, which is essentially a non-guaranteed contract for the league minimum. They can keep him on that deal for now and if he wins a roster spot in training camp, slot him onto the roster.
The Celtics also have full rights on Tremont Waters and Max Strus for their two-way contract slots. They can convert either of these deals into an NBA contract at any time, which would open up a two-way slot for Boston. It’s hard to envision