The collection of athletes on the roster and their salary implications is another reason to be glad that Mike Zarren chose to stay on as Danny Ainge’s Assistant GM. It seemed like the Courtney Lee trade saga included daily articles expressing doubt that his salary requirements could be met. The Jeff Green signing was delayed for what seemed like an eternity, possibly to weigh the advantage/disadvantages of front-loading or back-loading the numbers. Part of Ainge weaving his magic is the supporting salary-cap wizardry provided by Zarren.
Dateline: September 5, 2012––25 days until the start of training camp!
Here in the doldrums with the signings done and the actual news limited to airport sightings, rich-and-famous vacation plans, and promotional tours, bloggers are in fantasy-on-steroids mode with farfetched machinations to shake up a roster that currently appears rather set. For those who dip into the dizzying cloud of reality upon occasion, their flights of fancy grudgingly give a nod to the cap and time-after-signing trade restrictions. This throws their schemes firmly into the new year or trade deadline, the hard ceiling of $74.3M (top of the apron of the Luxury Cap—this has to be the sports version of techno-speak), and the BAE. In the real world, if Ainge finagles, finding a way to do it, whatever IT is, falls into the purview of Mike Zarren; and with the summer’s work he and Danny have set the Celtics up quite nicely.
Chris Forsberg over on ESPN Boston has ferreted out the latest Celtics salary numbers including Jeff Green.
SIGNED FOR 2012-13 WITH SALARY ESTIMATES (13)
Guards: Rajon Rondo ($11 million), Avery Bradey ($1.6 million), Jason Terry ($5 million), Courtney Lee ($5 million); Keyon Dooling ($854,389**)
Forwards: Paul Pierce ($16.8 million), Brandon Bass ($6 million), Jeff Green ($8.4 million), Jared Sullinger ($1.3 million*)
Center: Kevin Garnett ($11.6 million), Chris Wilcox ($854,389**), Jason Collins ($854,389**), Fab Melo ($1.3 million*)
NON- OR PARTIALLY GUARANTEED 2012-13 CONTRACTS (3)
Kris Joseph ($473,604); Jamar Smith ($473,604), Dionte Christmas ($473,604)
This leaves the Celtics, assuming a roster of 15 including two of the not-fully-guaranteed contracts, sitting at $71.5M. By minimizing Jeff Green’s contract this year, they have preserved the flexibility to use the BAE (~$1.96M), or to make a trade boosting their total commitment by $2.8M.
Now I don’t think, barring unforeseen complications (injury, poor recovery of our surgical rehab patients, sudden-onset aging), that the Celtics are looking to make a move; but if there is one of those inexplicable fire-sales at mid-season (and that happens strangely often) then Ainge has the chips (depth) and some salary flexibility to make an upgrade. Some are aghast that Ainge has received some rather pleasant comparisons to the legendary Auerbach; but Red never had to keep a math specialist on staff to vet the workability of his Machiavellian pipe- (or would that be cigar-) dreams.
Boston, and all points beyond