Celtics Rumors: Ainge, Jerebko, Bass, Crowder

The Celtics are looking forward to having cap space this summer for the first time in recent memory, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. The team has to renounce some trade exceptions and cap holds (including Stephon Marbury and Shaquille O’Neal) to get there, but president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is enjoying the thought of having some ammunition — possibly as much as $33.2MM — to chase free agents. “We need to use that space wisely,” Ainge said. “We can’t just spend it just because we have it.”

There’s much more from Boston:

  • The Celtics have important decisions to make on unrestricted free agents Jonas Jerebko and Brandon Bass, Forsberg writes in a separate story. He says Boston would like to keep Jerebko, who became an important bench player after being acquired in a trade with the Pistons. However, Jerebko’s large cap hold could make that problematic, and a decision will have to be made before the Celtics can start pursuing free agents. Forsberg adds that the team’s depth at power forward will likely make Bass expendable.
  • Ainge wouldn’t commit to bringing back Jerebko or Bass — or restricted free agents Gigi Datome and Jae Crowder — but he had encouraging words for all four, writes Brian Robb of Boston.com“I would just say that we like all of them to some degree,” Ainge replied. “Some of it’s going to be dependent on numbers and roster spots and draft and trades and everything else.” 
  • To become a contender, the Celtics need to find a rim protector, more size and depth in the frontcourt and a true superstar, contends Rich Levine of CSNNE.com. He also touts Crowder and Marcus Smart as the only current Celtics worthy of being locked up to long-term deals.
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