The Celtics will include one of their main backcourt pieces if they make a major trade, Chris Mannix of The Vertical anticipates. Boston will have trouble affording the quartet of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier in the long run and can’t add an impact player without shedding one or more of them, Mannix continues. Smart is eligible for an extension next summer and will command a starting salary of at least $10MM, while Thomas and Bradley can become free agents in the summer of 2018. It will take a good chunk of the salary cap to retain both, in Mannix’s view. The starting backcourt can also have their contracts renegotiated this summer but Mannix is skeptical that GM Danny Ainge would eat into future cap space to make that happen.
In other developments around the Atlantic Division:
- Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis and other players with rookie contracts will get a significant boost in pay once the new CBA is ratified, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Porzingis will receive a 15% increase next season and a 30% bump in the final year of his four-year rookie-scale deal, Berman continues. Sources informed Berman that Porzingis’ revised salary will increase from $4.5MM to $5.1MM next season and from $5.6MM to $7.3MM in 2018/19.
- The Raptors need another elite player to become true title contenders but they should try to hold onto shooting guard Norm Powell, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun opines. Powell has the ability to play three positions and could play some minutes at point guard if Toronto includes current backup Cory Joseph in a blockbuster deal, Wolstat continues. In any case, coach Dwane Casey should try to give Powell, 23, more consistent minutes, Wolstat adds.
- Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor will continue to start together in the Sixers’ frontcourt during their upcoming West Coast swing, Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com reports. According to Seltzer’s research, that duo has 52 shared minutes over the Sixers’ last four contests, producing an offensive rating of 95.0 points per 100 possessions, and a defensive rating of 113.3 points per 100 possessions.