The Celtics added more continuity to their roster on Monday, bringing back center Tacko Fall and point guard Tremont Waters on two-way contracts for the second straight season, according to a league source. Shams Charania was first to report the signing.
Waters is the more noteworthy signing on a two-way deal after the No. 51 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft earned G-League Rookie of the Year honors last year. In 36 games with the Red Claws, Waters averaged 18.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game. His strong play with the Maine Red Claws and in limited stints with the Celtics made him a candidate for the spot on the 15-man roster.
However, a lack of open roster spots around the league limited options for the restricted free agent. There was no guaranteed contract for him available on a 15-man roster elsewhere, so he comes back to Boston for a chance to beat out Payton Pritchard and Carsen Edwards as the fourth/fifth guard on the roster behind Marcus Smart and Jeff Teague. Some decent minutes could be available early in the season if Kemba Walker (knee) remains limited.
The good news for Waters during the 2020-21 season is that the NBA has loosened up a lot of the restrictions for two-way contract players amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of being limited to spending just 45 days with the Celtics, like most seasons, the only restriction on Waters will be having to be on the active 15-man roster for a maximum of 50 games. That shift in the playing time rules should give Waters ample opportunity to become a part of Boston's regular bench rotation if he earns the minutes with his play in training camp.
The road to any meaningful playing time with Boston is much tougher for Fall, especially after the team signed Tristan Thompson on Monday. He's a clear-cut fourth center on the team's depth chart and will likely be spending much of the upcoming season getting additional developmental minutes with the Red Claws in hopes that he can progress into an NBA player. Fall played 29 games with Maine this season, averaging 12.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. He ranked third in the G League in blocked shots and sixth in rebounding for the 2019-20 season. Tacko’s 70.7% field goal percentage was second in the league.
With Waters and Fall both signed, Boston's roster is up to 17 players. Here's a look at the updated depth chart.
Main roster: 15 players (14 guaranteed contracts)
Two-way contracts: Both spots filled
Ballhandling Gs (5): Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jeff Teague, Payton Pritchard, Carsen Edwards, Tremont Waters (two-way)
Wings (6, 1 non-guaranteed): Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford (injured), Semi Ojeleye, Javonte Green (non-guaranteed)
Bigs (4): Tristan Thompson Daniel Theis, Robert Williams, Grant Williams, Tacko Fall (two-way)
With Romeo Langford (wrist) sidelined for at least the start of the season, Boston's wing depth still looks very thin with just Aaron Nesmith, Javonte Green and Semi Ojeleye as options to begin the year. The guess here is at least one more veteran will be brought aboard (via free agency or trade) to provide some additional backup in the case that Nesmith isn't ready to contribute right away or a player goes down with an injury. However, if Danny Ainge really wants to force Brad Stevens to play the young talent on this roster to see what they have, he has set up the roster in a way where Stevens may have no choice.