Celtics Rumors

Groups Revealed For NBA Cup 2024

The NBA has announced the five-team groups for this year’s in-season tournament, now renamed the Emirates NBA Cup, the league announced in a release on Friday (Twitter link).

Like last year, there are six groups — three each from the Western Conference and Eastern Conference — and each conference was split into five groups based on last year’s standings. One team was selected at random from each group to determine the group round matchups.

The results are:

  • West Group A: Timberwolves, Clippers, Kings, Rockets and Trail Blazers
  • West Group B: Thunder, Suns, Lakers, Jazz and Spurs
  • West Group C: Nuggets, Mavericks, Pelicans, Warriors and Grizzlies
  • East Group A: Knicks, Magic, Sixers, Nets and Hornets
  • East Group B: Bucks, Pacers, Heat, Raptors and Pistons
  • East Group C: Celtics, Cavaliers, Bulls, Hawks and Wizards

The NBA Cup begins with group play, which runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 3. Each team plays one game against each of the four opponents in its group. The NBA released a matchup matrix to help fans follow along (Twitter link).

Just like last season, the winner of each group advances to a knockout round alongside the team with the best record in each conference that didn’t win a group. The semifinals and finals will again be played in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Last year, the Lakers won the inaugural in-season tournament over the Pacers. LeBron James won the tournament MVP after dropping 24 points in the title game.

The game and broadcast schedule for group play will be announced next month.

Celtics Notes: Tatum, Brown, Grousbeck, Sale

All-NBA Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, fresh off capturing his first NBA title, just signed the biggest contract in league history, a five-year, super-max deal worth a projected $313.93MM. According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Tatum believes his championship has helped quiet some of the discourse surrounding him in the league at present.

“You know, just being the topic of discussion of so many debates or whatever it is. ‘Can he lead a team? Is he a top-five player?’” Tatum said. “There’s still a lot of things I guess they can debate, but I’ve done some things they can’t debate. I won a championship. I did it at the highest level. So having that under my belt, like, obviously there’s still conversations to be had or whatever people want to say, but they’ve always got to refer to me as an NBA champion.”

Tatum seemed grateful for his lucrative new extension, too.

“For me just to feel wanted, and they want me to be here and want me for the long haul,” Tatum said. “I’ll spend my whole career here and have got nothing but love for the fans, the city, and the organization. You know, we just won a championship and I want to try to win as many as I can.”

During the 2023/24 regular season, the five-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA honoree posted superlative averages of 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks across 74 contests, with a .471/.376/.833 shooting line.

There’s more out of Boston:

  • Tatum’s All-Star teammate Jaylen Brown appeared miffed to have been passed over to replace Kawhi Leonard on Team USA in favor of another Celtics wing, Derrick White, Himmelsbach writes in a separate piece. Brown posted an emoj-packed tweet expressing his apparent displeasure. Sources confirmed to Brian Robb of MassLive that the 6’6″ small forward was indeed frustrated by the choice. Team USA managing director Grant Hill explained the decision on Wednesday. “This is about putting together a team,” Hill told gathered media. “Just kind of overall, you have incredible interest from an abundance of talent that we have here in the United States. I’ve talked a little about when we assembled this roster.”
  • Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck recently revealed his intentions to sell his stake in the team. Now, Grousbeck has outlined some supplemental details of the plan, Robb notes in an additional article. “I want to clarify, it’s not my majority stake,” Grousbeck said. “The control of the team is owned by my family, so it’s a family that I belong to and then I have the Celtics family I also belong to, so there’s an intersection and there’s an involvement.” According to Robb, Grousbeck hopes to sell the majority of his family’s ownership stake early next year. “The plan, the expectation is to sell the team in two parts, 51 percent going fairly soon,” Grousbeck said. “49 percent then closing in a second closing, that’s the expectation in 2028. I’m planning or expected to stay on until 2028 (as governor) and we’re going to hire bankers and advisors and this is going to be quite a bidding process.”
  • Grousbeck may be selling his portion of the Celtics chiefly because of long-term family estate planning, writes Eben Novy-Williams of Sportico. Boston is valued at an estimated $5.12 billion by Sportico, Novy-Williams adds.

Derrick White Replaces Kawhi Leonard On Team USA Roster

11:05am: As first confirmed by Spears (via Twitter), White has officially replaced Leonard on Team USA’s roster, according to a press release.

“I am happy to announce that Derrick will compete at his first Olympic Games on the heels of a championship season in Boston,” managing director Grant Hill said in a statement. “We look forward to him joining the team in the coming days as we continue preparations for Paris. “I want to thank Kawhi for his commitment to the USA Men’s National Team. He earned the opportunity to represent the United States, but USA Basketball and Clippers leadership felt it’s important to allow Kawhi to prepare for the NBA season.”

Team USA now features three members of the defending champion Celtics, with White joining teammates Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday.

9:57am: Star Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will withdraw from Team USA’s roster ahead of the Olympics in Paris, sources tell Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic (Twitter link).

USA Basketball intends to name a replacement for Leonard on the 12-team roster that will travel to Paris, with Celtics guard Derrick White considered a strong candidate, according to Charania and Vardon.

Leonard was sidelined at the end of the 2023/24 season due to right knee inflammation. He missed the last eight games of the regular season and first game of the playoffs due to the ailment, returned for Game 2 and Game 3 vs. Dallas, then sat out the final three contests of the Clippers’ first-round loss.

After reporting to Team USA’s training camp, he said over the weekend that his knee had improved in recent weeks enough for him to play this summer. Neither The Athletic’s report nor USA Basketball’s official statement (Twitter link) on Leonard’s exit from the team specifically mentions that knee, but it sounds as if the forward’s health is the motivating factor for the decision.

“Kawhi has been ramping up for the Olympics over the past several weeks and had a few strong practices in Las Vegas,” Team USA’s statement reads. “He felt ready to compete. However, he respects that USA Basketball and the Clippers determined it’s in his best interest to spend the remainder of the summer preparing for the upcoming season rather than participating in the Olympic Games in Paris.”

While that statement suggests the decision was made by the Clippers and Team USA, Marc J. Spears of Andscape (Twitter link) hears from a source that Leonard’s camp reached out a couple days ago to USA Basketball to express concern.

Atlantic Rumors: Trent, Quickley, Knicks, Kessler, Bertans, Celtics

Although the Raptors haven’t entirely closed the door on the possibility of bringing back free agent wing Gary Trent Jr., his return appears increasingly unlikely based on how the team’s offseason has played out, says Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

As Lewenberg observes, Toronto sacrificed much of its cap flexibility by taking on salary in a trade with the Kings and exercising Bruce Brown‘s team option. The club also added a wing in the first round of the draft, selecting Ja’Kobe Walter with the 19th overall pick. The 15-man roster is now full, with little breathing room below the luxury tax line.

When the Raptors’ negotiating window with Trent opened last month, they were willing to offer him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $15MM, a source tells Lewenberg, but the swingman’s camp was seeking a raise on last year’s $18.5MM salary, possibly up to $25MM or so.

Toronto wasn’t prepared to meet that price, and it doesn’t look like there are any rival suitors who will go that high either. One league insider tells TSN that Trent would be lucky at this point to receive the full mid-level exception (worth about $12.9MM). The Raptors no longer have on offer on the table for the 25-year-old, according to Lewenberg.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Jazz and Spurs, among other teams, had “real” interest in restricted free agent guard Immanuel Quickley before he agreed to sign a five-year, $175MM contract with the Raptors, Lewenberg writes, which is one reason why that deal came in higher than expected. Quickley’s new deal will be worth a flat $35MM across all five seasons, Lewenberg adds, so it’ll start at just under 25% of the salary cap in 2024/25 but that percentage will drop each year as the cap increases.
  • Echoing previous reporting, Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter video link) confirms that the Knicks have inquired on Walker Kessler, but says he’d be surprised if New York makes a deal for the third-year center, given the Jazz‘s asking price, which includes “at least” a first-round pick.
  • The Knicks are among the teams that have expressed some level of interest in free agent sharpshooter Davis Bertans, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
  • After the Celtics officially re-signed centers Xavier Tillman, Luke Kornet, and Neemias Queta, director of player personnel Austin Ainge said he’s “extremely grateful” to have all those players back and suggested that one or more of them could have landed more lucrative deals elsewhere. “We had some guys turn down more money other places to come back,” Ainge said, according to Brian Robb of MassLive.com. “It feels really good that guys we care about a lot to come back and go for another run.”

Celtics Re-Sign JD Davison To Two-Way Contract

JD Davison is back under contract in Boston, according to the Celtics, who announced (via Twitter) they’ve signed the free agent guard to another two-way deal.

Davison, who was the 53rd overall pick out of Alabama in 2022, has spent his first two professional seasons on two-way contracts with the Celtics, logging just 105 total minutes in 20 games at the NBA level across those two years.

While Davison hasn’t been able to crack the rotation on a veteran NBA roster, the 21-year-old has been a high-level performer for the Maine Celtics in the G League. He earned All-NBAGL Third Team honors this past season after averaging 21.5 points, 8.5 assists, and 5.1 rebounds in 34.3 minutes per game across 44 total Showcase Cup and regular season contests.

The Celtics didn’t issue Davison a qualifying offer at the end of June because he was ineligible for another two-way QO (his offer would’ve been a one-year, partially guaranteed standard contract). However, it appears bringing him back on a third two-way contract was always the plan. Davison will play for Boston’s Summer League team this month in Las Vegas.

The C’s now have one two-way slot available, with Drew Peterson filling the other.

Atlantic Notes: Martin, Sixers, Embiid, Vezenkov, Celtics

In order to maximize their cap room, the Sixers renounced the rights to nearly all of their free agents, including a handful of players who hadn’t actually been on the roster for years, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter links). However, there was one notable exception: KJ Martin‘s cap hold remains on the team’s books.

Martin’s cap hold is worth the veteran’s minimum of $2,087,519, but Philadelphia holds his full Bird rights, allowing the team to go over the cap to re-sign him to a contract worth any salary up to the maximum.

Of course, Martin won’t get the max, but it could be in the 76ers’ best interests to re-sign him to a deal worth more than the minimum. Besides potentially vying for rotation minutes, Martin might come in handy as a trade chip on a roster where so many players will be earning either maximum- or minimum-salary contracts.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • A year after James Harden‘s trade demand hung over the Sixers‘ offseason like a dark cloud, there’s more optimism this summer in Philadelphia about the new-look roster, headed by Joel Embiid, Paul George, and Tyrese Maxey. Speaking to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, Embiid cautioned that the team still needs to make it work on the court, but admitted he’s excited about how the new big three looks. “On paper, and as far as the fit, it looks fantastic because you got both guys that can play off the ball, and they can play on ball and they’re great shooters and they can handle the ball, and then you also got me,” he said with a smile.“So, yeah, it looks great.”
  • Addressing the Sasha Vezenkov situation on Monday, Raptors president Masai Ujiri said he has had discussions with Vezenkov, his representatives, GM Bobby Webster, and head coach Darko Rajakovic about the matter. As Keith Smith of Spotrac details in depth, Vezenkov has reportedly reached a deal with Olympiacos but remains under contract with Toronto on a guaranteed NBA contract, preventing him from returning to Greece without the Raptors’ cooperation. “I think that should develop in the next few days or we’ll see whether it’s a few months,” Ujiri said. “We acquired a player in a trade and we feel we have communicated well. We communicated well with the agent and the team before. And so we’ll see how that goes.”
  • Taking a closer look at the Celticsdecision to put majority control of the franchise up for sale, Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe says he believe H. Irving Grousbeck is ‘the one driving this sale” and that his son Wyc Grousbeck – the team’s governor and CEO – actually owns a “relatively small stake” in the team.

Contract Details: George, Martin, Wiseman, Isaac, Hield, More

Following the end of the July moratorium on Saturday, teams wasted no time in officially finalizing many of the contracts they’d agreed to up until that point.

Now that those contracts have been completed, we have the official details on many of them. Here, via several reporters – including Keith Smith of Spotrac, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, and cap expert Yossi Gozlan – as well as our own sources, are some of those notable details:

Players with trade kickers:

Lakers forward LeBron James (15%), Knicks forward OG Anunoby (15%), Sixers forward Paul George (15%), Sixers forward Caleb Martin (15%), Mavericks sharpshooter Klay Thompson (15%), and Mavericks forward Naji Marshall (5%) received trade kickers on their new free agent deals, while Celtics guard Derrick White (15%) got one on his contract extension.

As an aside, James’ exact starting salary in 2024/25 is $48,728,845, which is $1,258,873 below the maximum he could have earned.

Players who waived their right to veto a trade:

A player who re-signs with his team on a one-year contract (or two-year contract with a second-year option) is typically awarded the right to veto a trade, but has the option to waive that option.

Heat center Thomas Bryant, Rockets guard Aaron Holiday, Raptors wing Garrett Temple, and Magic teammates Gary Harris and Moritz Wagner all surrendered their right to veto a trade in 2024/25 and could be moved freely.

Unlikely incentives:

Nets center Nic Claxton ($97MM base + $3MM incentives), Pacers forward Obi Toppin ($58MM +$2MM), Suns forward Royce O’Neale ($42MM +$2MM), and Sixers forward Martin ($35,040,704 + $5,256,106) are among the players whose contracts include unlikely bonuses that would boost the total guaranteed salary if those incentives are reached.

As cap expert Albert Nahmad observes, the structure of Martin’s contract helped the 76ers maximize their cap room, since his unlikely incentives don’t count toward the cap once he signs.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Martin’s “unlikely” incentives are easier to earn than a typical player’s incentives would be — I don’t expect them to be for making an All-Star team or anything like that. An incentive is considered unlikely for cap purposes if the player wouldn’t have met the criteria the year before. For example, as Nahmad suggests, a bonus related to Martin making 24 or more starts would be considered unlikely because he started 23 games last season. Martin’s bonuses – considered “unlikely” for cap purposes but perhaps “likely” to be earned in reality – could have served as a way to strengthen the Sixers’ offer without sacrificing that extra cap room.

It’s also worth noting that a player’s unlikely incentives can’t exceed 15% of his guaranteed base salary, and Martin’s $5,256,106 in incentives represent exactly 15% of his overall $35,040,704 salary.

Partial or non-guarantees and options:

James Wiseman‘s two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Pacers is guaranteed for $500K in year one, with a team option for 2025/26. That team option would be guaranteed for $569,041 if exercised (ie. the same percentage as his first-year salary).

Luka Garza got a similarly structured two-year, minimum-salary deal with the Timberwolves, except his first year is fully guaranteed prior to his second-year team option. That 2025/26 option would be guaranteed if picked up.

As previously reported, Isaiah Hartenstein‘s three-year, $87MM deal with the Thunder includes a team option for 2026/27. It’s worth $28.5MM, with $58.5MM in guaranteed money across the first two seasons.

Magic teammates Harris ($7.5MM) and Wagner ($11MM) each have second-year team options on their two-year deals.

The Rockets used their full bi-annual exception to give Holiday a two-year deal worth $9,569,400 that includes a second-year team option ($4,901,400).

Neemias Queta‘s three-year, minimum-salary contract with the Celtics is fully guaranteed in year one with a partial guarantee of exactly 50% ($1,174,789 of $2,349,578) in year two, plus a third-year team option for 2026/27. The third-year option ($2,667,944) would be guaranteed for 50% ($1,333,972) if exercised. Since his minimum deal covers more than two years, a team wouldn’t be able to acquire Queta via the minimum salary exception if he’s traded down the road.

Jonathan Isaac‘s new long-term deal with the Magic is partially guaranteed ($8MM of $14MM) in 2026/27, with non-guaranteed salaries of $14.5MM in 2027/28 and $15MM in 2028/29. However, each of those salaries would become fully guaranteed if Isaac plays at least 52 games in the prior season. For instance, if Isaac were to appear in 54 games in 2026/27, his $14.5MM salary for ’27/28 would be fully guaranteed.

Sign-and-trade contracts:

Interestingly, Kyle Anderson‘s and Buddy Hield‘s new contracts with the Warriors have the exact same salaries for the first three seasons: $8,780,488, $9,219,512, and $9,658,536. Anderson’s three-year deal is fully guaranteed for the first two years and non-guaranteed in year three.

As for Hield, his four-year contract is fully guaranteed for the first two years, with a partial guarantee of $3MM for year three. His fourth year is a $10,097,560 player option that would be partially guaranteed for $3,136,364 if exercised.

Klay Thompson’s three-year contract with the Mavericks comes in at exactly $50MM, as reported — it starts at $15,873,016 and features 5% annual raises.

Jonas Valanciunas‘ three-year contract with the Wizards is worth $30,295,000 in total, beginning at $9.9MM (which is the amount of the trade exception generated for the Pelicans). It’s fully guaranteed for the first two seasons and non-guaranteed in year three.

Cody Zeller got a three-year, $11,025,000 deal in the sign-and-trade that sent him from New Orleans to the Hawks. The first year is guaranteed for $3.5MM, with two non-guaranteed seasons after that.

Finally, as part of the Mikal Bridges trade, new Nets guard Shake Milton got a three-year, $9,162,405 contract that has a guaranteed first-year salary of $2,875,000, with two non-guaranteed years after that ($3MM in 2025/26 and $3,287,406 in ’26/27). His teammate Mamadi Diakite, who was also sent to Brooklyn in the trade, had his $2,273,252 salary partially guaranteed for $1,392,150.

Milton’s $2,875,000 salary, Diakite’s $1,392,150 partial guarantee, and Bojan Bogdanovic‘s $19,032,850 salary add up to $23.3MM, which is equivalent to Bridges’ salary — the exact amount of outgoing salary the Knicks needed to send to avoid being hard-capped at the first tax apron.

Celtics Sign Baylor Scheierman To Rookie Contract

The Celtics have officially inked No. 30 draft pick Baylor Scheierman to his rookie deal, according to a team press statement.

The 6’6″ swingman enjoyed a decorated five-year collegiate career, splitting his time between South Dakota State and Creighton.

He was twice named an All-Summit League First-Teamer in 2021 and ’22 while with South Dakota State, where he finished as the Summit League Player of the Year. He blossomed at Creighton. During his two-year tenure there, he was named as an All-Big East First-Teamer and an All-American Third-Teamer in 2024.

In his fifth and final NCAA season, Scheierman posted a college-best average of 18.5 points on a .448/.381/.876 shooting line. He also notched 9.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 0.9 swipes a night.

Now, he’ll be hard-pressed to earn significant run with the reigning champs. Fresh off a 64-18 regular season finish and a 16-3 postseason run to their 18th title, the Celtics have enjoyed an active offseason so far, locking in their various incumbent veterans to defend their title in 2024/25.

Boston already boasts major depth along the wing, but Scheierman could have some value as a catch-and-shoot release valve for the club’s three-point-centric offense. As the final pick of the first round, his contract is expected to be worth about $12.8MM over four years.

Derrick White Signs Four-Year Extension With Celtics

JULY 6: The Celtics have officially signed White to his extension, the team confirmed today in a press release.

“Derrick is a great player who has immersed himself in the Boston community since joining us in the spring of 2021,” president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said in a statement. “Derrick brings a joy and selflessness to our building every single day. He’s committed to improving and has shown that in each year of his career. More importantly, he cares most about the things that matter, including building great relationships and competing with integrity. We are very lucky that Derrick is a Celtic and are thrilled he’ll be here for years to come.”

Boston also formally announced its super-max extension for Tatum.

JULY 1: Derrick White has agreed to a four-year, $125.9MM extension with the Celtics, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The deal includes a player option in the final season, Wojnarowski adds.

The extension will take effect with the 2025/26 season, and White’s yearly salaries will be $28.1MM, $30.3MM, $32.6MM and $34.8MM, per Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link). It’s the maximum amount White was eligible to get based on his current deal, but he might have landed more if he had waited for free agency next summer.

Signing White to a long-term contract was an offseason priority for the Celtics, who are also hoping to reach extensions with Jayson Tatum and Sam Hauser. Boston is reportedly re-signing Luke Kornet and Neemias Queta, so the core of the championship roster is likely to remain together for a while.

If Tatum agrees to a super-max extension this summer, as expected, Boston could have the most expensive team in league history next season and may top $200MM in salary by 2025/26, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Tax penalties are set to increase next year under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, so management will have to determine how long it’s willing to accept that extra expense.

White, 29, has excelled in Boston since being acquired from San Antonio at the 2022 trade deadline. He averaged 15.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 73 games last season while earning a second-team spot on the All-Defensive team.

White wasn’t a highly touted prospect when the Spurs selected him out of Colorado with the 29th pick in the 2017 draft. He established himself as a starter in San Antonio and is now considered one of the league’s best two-way guards.

Celtics Sign Jayson Tatum To Super-Max Extension

JULY 6: The richest contract in NBA history is now official, with the Celtics announcing in a press release that they’ve signed Tatum to his super-max extension.

“Jayson is a special person and player, and it’s been a thrill for all of us to watch his entire journey in Boston,” president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said in a statement. “He has embraced all that comes with being a great Celtic, and shows consistent and genuine care for every one of his teammates, coaches, and staff across the organization. Despite all the team accomplishments and individual awards, Jayson is committed to constantly improving. He works hard and is extremely driven by the challenges of the game – especially the goal of competing with his teammates for championships. We are obviously ecstatic that Jayson chose to extend his contract and add to his amazing career as a Boston Celtic.”

JULY 1: The Celtics and Jayson Tatum have agreed to terms on a five-year, super-max extension that will begin in 2025/26 and will start at 35% of the salary cap, reports Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report (Twitter link).

Based on the NBA’s latest cap projection, the five-year contract will start at approximately $54.13MM and will be worth a total of $313.93MM, making it the largest deal in league history. It will replace the $37MM player option for 2025/26 from Tatum’s current contract and will run through the ’29/30 season.

Tatum, who won his first championship this spring, earned All-NBA First Team honors for a third straight season after averaging 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists in 35.7 minutes per game with a .471/.376/.833 shooting line for the league’s top team.

The star forward met the super-max criteria, increasing his maximum salary from 30% of the cap to 35%, by making the All-NBA team in both 2022 and 2023. He needed one more year in the NBA in order to meet the service time criteria of at least seven years, but this move had been expected since last spring once he became eligible.

Tatum’s deal, which can be officially signed as early as July 6, is on track to be completed less than one year after his teammate Jaylen Brown signed a five-year super-max extension of his own. Brown’s deal, which went into effect today and previously held the title of biggest contract in NBA history, is worth approximately $285.4MM.

Having also agreed to a four-year, $125.9MM extension with guard Derrick White earlier today, the Celtics have locked up three of their five starters through at least the 2027/28 season, with a fourth (Jrue Holiday) holding a player option for that year. Boston’s fifth starter (Kristaps Porzingis) is under contract through ’25/26. It projects to be one of the league’s priciest rosters going forward, but the Celtics now have their championship core under team control for the long term.

The Celtics will become one of four teams who have multiple players on maximum-salary contracts that began at 35% of the cap. The Bucks (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard) and Sixers (Joel Embiid, Paul George) will have two apiece, while the Suns (Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal) are carrying three.