Now that the dust has settled on Danny's roster moves and signings, it's time to take a look at the state of the Celtics, where the roster stands and where they stand in regard to the salary cap and payroll. First, salary cap is set at $58,044,000 this season. The tax threshold is $70,307,000 and the Celtics must stay within $4 million of that threshold in order to use the $5 million MLE to sign Jason Terry. So, in effect, the Celtics have a hard cap of $74,307,000 that they must stay below.
Now, let's take a look at the Celtics roster and salary for 2012-13. With the signing of Keyon Dooling today, the Celtics now have 16 players on the roster. This includes 3 non-guaranteed contracts. Second round draft pick was signed to a 2 year non-guaranteed contract at the rookie minimum. Dionte Christmas also was signed to a 2 year contract at the rookie minimum but reports are that his is partially guaranteed. Finally, Jamar Smith has a 1 year non-guaranteed contract at the rookie minimum. Here is a run down of the salaries on the Celtics books as of now for the 2012-13 season. The numbers for the new signees are estimates as the exact numbers haven't been released as yet. Also, the Celtics are only responsible for $854,389 of each vet minimum contract.
Rajon Rondo $11,011,000
Avery Bradley $ 1,630,000
Jason Terry $ 5,000,000
Courtney Lee $ 5,000,000
Keyon Dooling $ 854,389
Dionte Christmas $ 473,604*
Jamar Smith $ 473,604*
Paul Pierce $16,790,000
Brandon Bass $ 6,200,000
Jeff Green $ 9,000,000
Jared Sullinger $ 1,306,920
Kris Joseph $ 473,604*
Kevin Garnett $11,500,000
Chris Wilcox $ 854,389
Jason Collins $ 854,389
Fab Melo $ 1,254,720
Total salary committed as of now is approximately $72,676,619, including the non-guaranteed contracts, at least one of which will be cut in training camp. This leaves the Celtics presently at $1,630,381 below the hard cap. Once the roster is down to 15, the Celtics will be approximately $2,103, 985 below the hard cap.
The Celtics could elect to go come out of camp with 15 players and cut just one of the three non-guaranteed players. The battle for those last two spots will be between Joseph, Christmas, and Smith. It appears that Smith will be the odd man out, unless he dominates in camp. Christmas and Joseph were the more impressive players in Summer League and will have the inside track going into camp. Of course, they could keep just 14 players to maintain flexibility going into the season. That would leave them enough wiggle room to use the bi-annual exception should the right player become available. The biggest need is at small forward, so if one of the 3 is kept, it will probably be Joseph.
UPDATE: According to Chris Forsberg, more details about Jamar Smith's contract have come out. The first 25,000 is guaranteed. Year one becomes guaranteed fully if he is not waived before November 15. The second year is fully non-guaranteed but will become guaranteed if he is not waived before June 30, 2013. But, that's just a technicality because he still has the steepest odds to make the team.
The Celtics have built a deep roster with a lot of flexibility. They have the capability of going big or small or playing a combination of the two. Most of the players on the roster can play 2 or possibly 3 positions. And one of the keys to the effectiveness of this roster is the defensive capability of each player.
The depth chart will look something like this, with several players able to play several positions:
PG: Rondo, Bradley, Terry, Dooling, Christmas, Smith
SG: Lee, Bradley, Terry, Dooling, Christmas, Smith
SF: Pierce, Green, Joseph, Lee
PF: Bass, Green, KG, Sullinger
C: KG, Wilcox, Collins, Melo
It seems that now the roster is set. Danny has a little flexibility in case a player he just can't pass up becomes available. Training camp will be competitive as with Avery out to begin the season, the starting spot is up for grabs. Also, Doc has set the table for a battle at power forward as he has mentioned both Green and Sully possibly starting and Bass will certainly want to keep that spot. We have 3 centers who can fight to win the starting center spot from KG, and if they can, that settles the power forward battle. It should be a fun and competitive camp. Can you imagine the scrimmages in practice? KG, Bass, Pierce, Bradley and Rondo vs Wilcox, Sully, Green, Lee and Terry. Throw in Melo, Joseph, Dooling, Collins and Christmas for subs and that would be worth the price of admission.
The Celtics are deep and much better than the team that took Miami to 7 games. Subtract Ray's 3's and his porous defense from the roster and add Jason Terry and Courtney Lee, both good defenders and good shooters, in his place and the Celtics definitely win that exchange. Subtract Stiemsma and add Wilcox, Collins and Melo and the Celtics are certainly better at center. Subtract Quisy and Pietrus and add Green and Joseph and Sullinger and again, the Celtics are much better.
I can't wait until camp. The Celtics first game will be October 5 in Europe. I'm counting the days!! How about you?