Kevin O’Connor, posting on celticsblog.com, details the Celtics cap situation, and the likely summer ruminations of Danny Ainge:
With a projected salary cap of about $60 million, Danny Ainge will have to maximize his cap space by figuring out the best plan of attack to get rid of KG and Pierce, renouncing the Celtics’ cap holds, and declining player’s option years. In order to get the most out of free agency, Danny has to go all out here.
Pierce would have to be traded, amnestied, or bought out with his $5 million buy out option. A trade is possible, but Ainge would be able to maximize the team’s cap space through amnestying or buying out Pierce. In that case, Boston would have $5 million more in cap room if Pierce were amnestied, so that makes most sense for the team.
KG has already stated that his future will be closely linked with Pierce. With that in mind, if The Truth is let go by the team, that likely means that Garnett will retire. Retirement doesn’t immediately eliminate a contract though; in order to get his contract off the books, Boston would have to agree to a buyout with him. Years ago, Rasheed Wallaceagreed to a $1 million buyout with Boston, so a number like that seems reasonable for him.
Terrence Williams, Shavlik Randolph, and D.J. White all have option years for the team.D.J. White’s option should be declined, but decisions on Williams and Randolph will be more difficult. From Ainge’s perspective, he will likely look at how Doc Rivers utilized Shavlik Randolph and find more value in declining his option. Terrence Williams has the flexibility to play both guard positions and small forward, so there is lots of value with him. However, crunching the numbers and roster spots, having Williams might be a tad bit redundant, so waiving all three of these players would make most sense for the team since it would open up another $3,082,272 in salary cap space.
Depending on what happens with Paul Pierce, the cap room would vary. If Pierce were bought out, the Celts would have a total salary of $51.2 million, but if he were amnestied, the team would have an even smaller total of $46.2.
That previous number doesn’t include cap holds; Boston has loads of cap holds on players such as Chris Wilcox, Nenad Krstic, and Stephon Marbury. But now that the Celtics are under the cap, it would be wise to renounce their cap holds in order to amplify their cap room. (Note: Cap Holds are a bit complicated to explain, but this link explains everything quite well.) In short, if a player like Chris Wilcox is renounced, he would not be able to be resigned by the team.
If the Celtics were to renounce all of their cap holds, decline all three player options, amnesty Pierce, and buy out Kevin Garnett, they would have a total salary of $46,170,356. Factoring in the cap hold for the number 16 slot in the draft, that value would increase to $47,541,556.
Here is what the Boston Celtics’ roster would look like after all the changes:
Name, Position Salary Rajon Rondo, PG $11,954,545 Jeff Green, SF $8,965,000 Brandon Bass, PF $6,450,000 Jason Terry, SG $5,225,000 Courtney Lee, SG $5,225,000 Avery Bradley, SG $2,511,432 Jordan Crawford, SG $2,162,419 Jared Sullinger, PF $1,365,720 Fab Melo, C $1,311,240 1st Round Pick Cap Hold $1,371,200 KG Buy Out $1,000,000 Total Salary $47,541,556
With a projected cap of $60 million, Boston would have $12,458,444 available to spend before reaching the cap. That would allow the C’s just enough to sign a top player in free agency before using exceptions to sign other players to contracts.
Step Three: The NBA Draft
Option One: Draft a Big
With only Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, and Fab Melo as the bigs on the Celtics’ roster, the team is essentially forced into drafting a big. With the possibility of competing, drafting an NBA ready player might be the best bet. Lucky for Danny Ainge, this draft is filled with quality talent at the power forward and center positions.
A few NBA ready players that could be on the board when the Celtics are on the clock at pick number 16 are Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng, Duke’s Mason Plumlee, Kansas’ Jeff Withey, and Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk. Two other bigs that might need a little bit more development are Pittsburgh’s Steven Adams and France’s Rudy Gobert.
Each of those players bring a different skillset to the floor, which will be outlined in a CelticsBlog NBA Draft Player Preview Series this offseason, but all of them would fit Boston’s needs going forward. Many of them will be able to step on the floor and play immediate minutes much like Jared Sullinger did last season.
Option Two: Draft a Boom or Bust Player
Danny Ainge could prefer going for a player that has an incredibly high ceiling but also a D-League quality floor. Giannis Adetokoubo, a freakishly athletic forward from Greece, is the first name that will be on Danny Ainge’s board in terms of high-risk selections.
“GA” could pan out and be a star in the NBA, but with the lack of a core, can Ainge afford to miss on this draft? Drafting a player like Adetokoubo or Dario Saric, a power forward from Croatia, could pan out significantly in the long run, but the risk is there.
Solution: Be Safe, Go Big
Danny Ainge should repeat what he did in last year’s draft and draft a big man. You can never have enough bigs on your roster and this team is in desperate need of one, especially one that can rebound. Out of those names, Gorgui Dieng might be the best option. He’s a defensive center that can block shots and defend the paint. He’s a very good rebounder that actually boxes out, establishing position for boards. Dieng has developed a bit of an offensive game and has a 12-to-18 foot jump shot in his arsenal.
Regardless of what player Danny Ainge decides to draft, he can’t afford to miss on his draft pick this season. Being safe and drafting a player that you are almost certain will have a long NBA career is the best option.
For the rest of O’Connor’s post, click here: http://www.celticsblog.com/2013/5/6/4300564/into-the-mind-of-danny-ainge-the-post-big-3-era