Analyzing the Celtics’ Payroll & Roster
Posted by r1zzo23 on July 4, 2007
Who can’t be pumped for this season? After coming off the worst year in franchise history, we should be ready to right the wrongs and show the league that the Celtics are still relevant in the NBA. I know, no, I guarantee, that the Celtics will make the playoffs this year. Shouldn’t I be looking at what this team can do this year to make them a better team? Perhaps, but for the past few seasons, we’ve all trained ourselves to look ahead at hopefully better times for this team. I’ve decided to take a look at the Celtics’ payroll and think about where we could go with it in the future. (Salary chart provided by HoopsHype.com)
This year we have room to make a small pickup using our Mid-Level Exception, but there’s no way we can make a big splash through free agency. If we were to make a big acquisition, it would have to be through trade using Theo Ratliff’s $11.66 million contract that comes off the books after this season. I personally think if we’re going to keep Al Jefferson, we can’t deal Theo Ratliff to take on a contract because Al’s deal is up this year and he will be looking to get paid.
Personally, I think we should sign Big Al to an extension mid-season if he proves that he can consistently contribute like he did last year. The earlier we do it, the more money we would save in the long run. Sign him early and hope to get him for $10 million per year for a six year deal. If we wait until the end of the season, he may demand the max and we would be forced to pay him $15 million per season. That extra $5 million would be huge to sign a veteran in the future that could really help our team. Also, Al says he wants to play in Boston, so maybe he understands that he can help the team by taking less money.
Ryan Gomes is only making $770,610 in the final year of his rookie contract and he is definitely a player I would like to keep around. He’s a solid player that does all the little things that you need to stay competitive. I think if he takes yet another step forward this season (such as making that 3-point shot a fixture in his arsenal), I would be willing to give him $4-5 million per year on a three or four-year deal. See why getting Al Jefferson for $10 million instead of $15 million could be big? We could get two good, young players for the price of one maxed out Al. Simple math people. I’m sure you guys understand, but Danny is a different story.
Allan Ray’s contract is also up at the end of the season, and with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce here for three and four more years, respectively, it doesn’t look like re-signing him would be in our best interests.
Sebastian Telfair’s contract is up after this season and I don’t think he has any future with this franchise unless he proves that he’s a viable backup point guard this coming season. Even then, I think the C’s will look to get him out of town and allow Rondo and Gabe Pruitt to develop.
Next season’s team shouldn’t look too different. Pierce and Ray Allen will still be leading this team. Al Jefferson’s salary will go from $2.4 million to about $13 million, which is a huge reason why we can’t move Theo’s contract without moving Al at the same time. Tony Allen’s injury could be a blessing in disguise for the Celtics as we could re-sign him this year while he’s coming off a terrible injury, hoping to get him for cheap. I would say $3 million for three years would be a great deal for the Celtics.
Then you add in the rookies we will draft next year and looks like we are in another season of mediocrity. But if we fast forward to after the 2009/10 season, that’s when the Celtics need to make their big splash. Ray Allen’s $18.8 million and Scal’s $3.4 million both come off the books, leaving us $22.2 million to play with. With that much money to spend, you have room to sign a max player at $15 million a year and then grab a very good player with the remaining $7 million.
Potentially, the biggest free agent following the 2010/11 season will be Greg Oden. If he decides to test the free agent waters after his first four seasons in Portland, then the Celtics should pursue him with Paul Pierce’s money as his contract is up after that season. Throw the max deal at Oden, tell him he can team up with Al Jefferson, who will hopefully be a premiere big man in the league at the time, as well as a hopefully emerged Gerald Green and a good point guard in Rajon Rondo. Throw in that we could re-sign Pierce for fractions of his previous salary and this could be a very scary team. Hey, a guy can dream, right?
Am I crazy? Absolutely. Is it obvious that I’m still upset about losing the lottery? No doubt about it. But to match Al Jefferson and Greg Oden in the same front court has got to be a scary thought for the rest of the NBA.