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Off-season thoughts #1: our roster and salary issues.

June 3, 2009
Lets get that $16 million dollar knee healthy in shape.

Let's get that $16 million dollar knee healthy in shape.

Who is going to go, and who is going to stay?
As of now, here is our 15-man roster and what they are owed for the 09-10 season:

  • KG($16.4 million)
  • Pierce ($19.8 million)
  • Ray Ray ($18.7 million)
  • Perk ($4.2 million)
  • Scal ($3.4 million)
  • Eddie Money ($2.8 million; player option)
  • TA ($2.5 million)
  • Rondo ($2.6 million)
  • Steph ($0)
  • JR Giddens ($1.2 million)
  • Powe ($0)
  • Gabe Pruitt ($729,005; team option)
  • Big Baby ($0)
  • Mikki Moore ($0)
  • Bill Walker ($736,420)

This 15-man roster has a grand total salary of $72, 386,991. Yikes. The salary cap in the NBA for the 09-10 season will be decreased to $58.68 million, but because of all of the salary cap exceptions that would make any great lawyer’s head spin, the Celtics shouldn’t go over the cap too much and into luxury tax territory (multi-year contracts, Larry Bird Exception, Early Bird Exception, Non-Bird Exception, Mid-Level Salary Exception, Bi-Annual Exception, Rookie Exception, Minimum Player Salary Exception, Traded Player Exception… ugh, let’s just stop there. You can read more about it here: http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#Q19). But we will be close. Something promising though: the other day Wyc claimed that the Celtics will be opening up their wallets regardless of luxury tax issues if certain players will make their team better. I love this man.

Time to get down and dirty: here are some thoughts about the make-up of this team.

KG is staying. His surgery went well, rehab begins soon, and that $16.4 million dollar knee has to start getting healthy and strong as he is a go for the start of the 09-10 season.
Pierce is obviously staying.
Ray Ray is staying despite crazy rumors about he and Rondo being traded to Phoenix for Amare and Barbosa. Crazy talk. Although… mid-season in 2009-2010, things aren’t going well, trade deadline is near, the Celtics get an offer for something that sounds better than what Ray gives us, then don’t be surprised if he is shipped off then. But not now.
Perk is staying.
I believe Eddie will pick up his option– even in a career shooting year, not many teams will pay more than $2.8 for a tiny shooting guard that can’t do anything else except shoot open 3s. He likes Boston, Boston likes him, so it works out well.
Rondo will most likely get re-signed to something nice that will keep him in green for a long time. I’d like to see 5 years for $70 million, but I know I’m talking crazy.
JR Giddens will be back.
Big baby is a restricted free agent so the Celts can match any offer to Baby. Baby has already expressed that he will go where the money is: he knows that this is a business and he is treating it as such. Luckily for us, most NBA teams are losing money faster than Usaine Bolt can run the 100m and in this terrific economy we are living through, I can’t imagine how many teams will throw Baby a huge contract. And to be honest, his development will stunt if he leaves this team: look who his mentors are!?? I think it’s safe to say that we will see #11, all 800lbs of him, back in green for the next 3-4 years.
Bill Walker will be back and should be on the active roster and not getting shipped back and forth to Utah to play for the Flash in the D-League.

Mikki Moore is gone. I have a feeling Steph will be gone, too. He’s been calling old Coach Flip Saunders, who will be with the Wiz this year, about giving him a chance. I see him going somewhere for more money and for guaranteed playing time. It was a good risk the Celts took on him, and I’m glad Steph had the chance to redeem himself a bit. I need him to continue to play ball so he can make more $15 basketball shoes– I’ll be in need of a new pair sneakers in about 4 months.

Scal might be pointing to where he might be going this off-season.

Scal might be pointing to where he might be going this off-season.

I wouldn’t mind seeing TA and Scal traded to a team looking for depth off the bench and some additional role players. TA and Scal could be packaged together to help a team defensively. In our system, TA can’t get 8-10 touches to put up 12 points in a game and be a reliable perimeter defender; but somewhere else, in another system, TA could help improve a bench with his athleticism in an uptempo style game: Phoenix? Golden State? New York? Scal is the king of intangibles on the court: smart fouls on defense, taking charges, hustling for loose balls, guarding positions 3-5, and helping to stretch the court out a bit with his ability to knock down some outside shots. Packaged together, they can be very appealing to a team looking to dump one player earning $5-6 million: the total salary between Scal and TA.

Bye bye #42?

Bye bye #42?

I’m pretty convinced that TA will be moved. After the whole Chicago fiasco of the death threats against him and his inability to stay healthy and him having a basketball IQ of a acorn, it’s time the Celts cut ties with him. We’ve given him time, but it’s time to walk away from the table. What should we get in return? How about a veteran point guard? Or a veteran center? Either one. Size would be preferable, but a decent back up for Rondo has to be found somewhere at some point. These are two roles we NEED to fill, and it would be great to see it taken care of by dumping TA and unfortunately saying goodbye to Scal. Let’s say we go with the size: we trade TA and Scal for a BIG. Done. Taken care of.

If this is the route we take, then we still are looking for a veteran point guard ($1 million worth) and keep Pruitt as a 3rd option in case of injury. What a cheap 3rd option. Give the kid another year and another chance. While is jumper has been pretty unreliable, he can at least handle the ball and start-up the offense. More importantly, he knows the system. He knows the options. Not a terrible hand to have.

I don’t have a good feeling about Powe. He will miss at least 1/3 of the season, and I just don’t know. I hope we re-sign him because he is quite possibly the BEST human being in the world, and he stands for all that is right in sports and in humanity, and the dude can get offensive boards and play pretty solid post defense. His game is really coming together and he’s adding all sorts of moves to his offensive game… But damn. It doesn’t make sense financially at all. If Powe is willing to take a discount to stay with the Celts, I can see the front office cutting him a 2 year deal for just over $1 million per.

Bill Walker: possibly the heart of our bench for 09-10.

Bill Walker: possibly the heart of our bench for 09-10.

So there are two X factors left on the roster: JR Giddens and Bill Walker. How about this for a bomb shell? These two players will decide HOW GOOD THE CELTICS ARE IN 2009 and 2010.

How is this so…?

I’ll elaborate more in this weekend’s post that will be dedicated to all the reasons I want to buy a Bill Walker t-shirt jersey (a huge compliment, by the way… although not as big of a compliment as me buying the real jersey) and why Boston might be the perfect stage for JR Giddens.

Endnote • Lakers in 6. Damn it, what? No. Magic in 6. Bam. Pietrus becomes series MVP. Bam. JJ Reddick drops nine 3s in a game to tie the Finals record of most 3s in a game. Dwight averages 24-20-11. 11 blocks. For a triple-double. Jameer Nelson returns and causes headaches because he was having an All-Star season. Stan van Gundy draws up 36 different in-bounds plays that are all successful.
Lakers in 6.
Although I was completely and utterly wrong about the CLE/ORL series, so who knows.

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