Celtics Rumors

NBA Teams That Can’t Trade/Acquire Cash Until July

During each NBA league year, teams face limits on the amount of cash they can send out and receive in trades. Once they reach those limits, they’re no longer permitted to include cash in a deal until the following league year.

For the 2018/19 NBA season, the limit is $5,243,000. The limits on sending and receiving cash are separate and aren’t dependent on one another, so if a team has sent out $5,243,000 in trades and also received $5,243,000 in separate deals, they don’t have a clean slate — they’ve reached both limits for the season.

Thanks to reporting by cap experts like Bobby Marks, Eric Pincus, and Albert Nahmad, we’ve been able to keep tabs on the cash sent and received in trades by teams during the 2018/19 NBA league year, so we have a pretty clear idea of each club’s flexibility heading into the draft.

Being able to send or receive cash on draft day is particularly useful, since it can provide a simple means of acquiring – or moving – a second-round pick. A year ago, five of the trades agreed upon in June that featured 2018 draft picks included cash.

Of course, three of those five trades weren’t actually completed until July, which highlights a simple way to work around these restrictions. A team that can’t send or receive cash at this year’s draft could still technically agree to a deal involving cash, then officially finalize it sometime after July 1, when the cash limits reset for the 2019/20 league year.

Still, the 2018/19 restrictions are worth noting, since in some cases a player’s changing cap figure or contract status can make it impossible to wait until July to make a trade official.

With that in mind, here are some of the limitations facing teams until July 1:

Ineligible to receive cash:

  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Toronto Raptors

The Hornets reached their limit less than a week until the 2018/19 league year, having received $5MM from the Nets in their Dwight Howard trade and $243K from the Thunder in a deal involving Hamidou Diallo.

As for the Bulls, they reached their yearly limit in three separate transactions, acquiring approximately $2.63MM in a pair of swaps with the Rockets involving Michael Carter-Williams and Carmelo Anthony. Chicago then received another $2.61MM from the Thunder in a Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot salary dump.

Based on the reported figures for the Raptors ($5MM from the Spurs in the Kawhi Leonard blockbuster, plus $110K apiece from the Sixers and Nets in deadline deals), they could technically acquire another $23K. However, $110K is the minimum amount of cash a team can include in a trade this season, so Toronto can’t actually acquire any more.

Outside of these three teams, every NBA club is eligible to acquire at least $2MM before July. The Magic ($2,226,778), Sixers ($2,743,000), Mavericks ($3,148,049), and Hawks ($3,187,090) are most limited.

Ineligible to send cash:

  • None

No NBA teams have reached their limits for sending out cash this season, though some are close.

The Nets ($243,000) and Spurs ($243,000) can barely trade any cash after sending out $5MM in deals last July. The Thunder ($411,294) and Rockets ($565,513) are also nearly tapped out, having made a handful of moves aimed at reducing – or in Houston’s case, eliminating – their luxury tax bills.

The Wizards ($2,365,456), Grizzlies ($2,660,069), and Celtics ($2,737,090) are also somewhat limited in their ability to trade cash, but no other teams have less than $3MM available.

Eastern Notes: Wizards, Robinson, Celtics

Bradley Beal making the league’s All-NBA team could change the course of the Wizards‘ franchise, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports writes. If Beal earns the nod, then he will be eligible for a super-max contract that starts at 35% of the salary cap.

[Related: How All-NBA Choices Impact Contract Situations]

There’s no guarantee that Washington offers that kind of deal to Beal if the organization gains the ability to do so. It’s also not certain that Beal would accept it. Hughes argues the Wizards will be left with no choice but to trade Beal if they decide against offering the super-max contract or Beal opts against accepting it.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Many within the NBA believe Mitchell Robinson possesses the highest ceiling of any current member of the Knicks, Marc Stein of The New York Times writes in his latest newsletter. Stein compares Robinson’s potential to Clint Capela‘s game, writing that Robinson could become better than the Rockets big man.
  • Rookie Allonzo Trier didn’t hear his name called on draft night but Stein (in the same piece) believes that was a mistake. Trier played in 64 games for the Knicks this season.
  • The Celtics brought in Cam Johnson (North Carolina), Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State) and Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech) for workouts, according to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Boston could end up with as many as four first-round picks in the upcoming draft.

Celtics Notes: Irving, Davis, Hayward, Smart

A difficult regular season hasn’t affected the Celtics‘ commitment to Kyrie Irving, writes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Irving promised Boston fans in October that he would re-sign with the the team, but his resolve seemed to waiver as losses piled up during the season. He also made a series of public comments about how difficult it is to be a veteran leader on a young team.

Despite the ups and downs of the season, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said the organization hasn’t given any thought to letting Irving leave and turning the offense over to Terry Rozier. Ainge also believes the postseason will give Irving a fresh start.

“I don’t think free agency is wearing on him,” Ainge said. “I think that not being able to live up to expectations as a team is wearing on him more than that. But I feel like he’s in a good place. And ending the season and starting the playoffs I feel like his mind is in a fresher place than it was a few weeks ago, and I’m looking forward to great things with Kyrie.”

Beyond his talents, another motivation for the Celtics to keep Irving is his friendship with  the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis. Boston is hoping to trade for Davis this summer and would have a better chance of signing him to a long-term deal if Irving is still around.

There’s more Celtics news this morning:

  • Gordon Hayward finished strong after a trying season that saw him struggle to rebuild his game in the wake of last year’s severe ankle injury, notes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Over the last seven games, Hayward has averaged 16.9 PPG while shooting 62% from the field. Teammates and management have been impressed by the way he has handled the challenges. “From the first day of training camp, he’s played the right way,” Ainge said. “Through all of his adversity, he has, and I mean, that’s leadership. That’s great leadership showing, and people notice that. It doesn’t do that much good to talk about it, but Gordon, by his example, has shown great leadership.”
  • Celtics fans shouldn’t expect to see Marcus Smart for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs, tweets Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Smart is projected to miss 4 to 6 weeks with a torn left oblique, but coach Brad Stevens calls that timeline “aggressive,” based on what he has heard from team doctors.
  • With six players either headed toward free agency or having the ability to opt out of their contracts, the Celtics know this could be their last shot at a title with their current roster, observes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.

Wizards Notes: Robinson, GM Search, Satoransky, Green

The incident that led to Devin Robinson‘s dismissal from the Wizards was a fight with Jalen Mills of the Philadelphia Eagles outside a Washington, D.C., nightclub early this morning, reports Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The Wizards issued a statement after the altercation saying they won’t extend a qualifying offer to the two-way player for next season.

Robinson and Mills were both arrested after the fight, which D.C. police say began with a verbal altercation. They wound up trading punches outside the Opera Ultra Lounge at 2:56am, resulting in Robinson being taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The 24-year-old recently returned from a hip injury that sidelined him for two months. He appeared in seven NBA games this season and one last year. Robinson’s agent refused to comment on the incident.

There’s more Wizards news to pass along:

  • David Griffin’s decision to join the Pelicans removes the potential top candidate in Washington’s search for a new GM, according to Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington. Losing out on Griffin may improve the chances that senior VP of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard will be promoted to the GM’s role, but the Wizards won’t be in a hurry to make a move. Owner Ted Leonsis said he plans to reflect on the situation for about three weeks while consulting with a search firm.
  • Danny Ferry, who served as interim GM in New Orleans and is the son of former Bullets GM Bob Ferry, has been mentioned as a possibility for the Wizards, along with Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon, who was also a candidate for the Pelicans’ job. Nuggets president Tim Connelly, Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver and Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren may also receive consideration, but Standig doesn’t believe Zarren is likely to leave Boston.
  • No matter what happens with restricted free agent Tomas Satoransky, he’s sure of which position he wants to play, Standig relays in a separate story“I’m a point guard. I’m definitely a point guard. I will never be agreeing with someone that tells me otherwise,” he said. That’s where the Wizards used him after John Wall‘s season-ending injury and what his role projects to be if he returns to Washington with Wall possibly sidelined for all of next year. Standig states that management approached Satoransky about a long-term deal at mid-season, but he and his representatives preferred to test the free agent waters.
  • Jeff Green, who is headed for unrestricted free agency after signing a one-year deal last summer, enjoyed the chance to play in his hometown, he says in a video interview tweeted by the team.

2019 NBA Draft Order Tiebreaker Results

The NBA’s draft order is determined by the league’s reverse standings for that year, with the first four spots in the draft up for grabs via the lottery. However, when two teams finish the season with identical records, an additional step is necessary.

In order to determine which of those tied teams will move ahead of the other(s) in the draft order, the NBA conducts tiebreakers via random drawings. The league completed the random drawings for 2019’s tiebreakers today, and we have the results below. Let’s dive in…

Tiebreaker No. 1:

  • Teams: Phoenix Suns vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-63)
  • Draft positions: 2-3
  • Winner: Cavaliers

Tiebreaker No. 2:

  • Teams: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks vs. Memphis Grizzlies (33-49)
  • Draft positions: 7-9
  • Winner: Pelicans
  • Second place: Grizzlies
  • Note: Grizzlies’ pick will go to Celtics if it falls outside top eight; Mavericks’ pick will go to the Hawks if it falls outside top five.

Tiebreaker No. 3:

  • Teams: Sacramento Kings vs. Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets (39-43)
  • Draft positions: 12-14
  • Winner: Hornets
  • Second place: Heat
  • Note: Kings’ pick belongs to Celtics (or Sixers if it’s No. 1).

Tiebreaker No. 4:

  • Teams: Brooklyn Nets vs. Orlando Magic (42-40)
  • Draft positions: 16-17
  • Winner: Magic

Tiebreaker No. 5:

  • Teams: Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs vs. Indiana Pacers (48-34)
  • Draft positions: 18-20
  • Winner: Pacers
  • Second place: Spurs
  • Note: Clippers’ pick belongs to Celtics.

Tiebreaker No. 6:

  • Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Boston Celtics (49-33)
  • Draft positions: 21-22
  • Winner: Thunder

Tiebreaker No. 7:

  • Teams: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets (53-29)
  • Draft positions: 25-26
  • Winner: Trail Blazers
  • Note: Rockets’ pick belongs to Cavaliers.

Teams’ lottery odds didn’t really change as a result of today’s tiebreakers. In instances where two or more lottery teams finish with identical records, the lottery combinations are split evenly among them, with the tiebreaker winner getting one extra combination if there’s an odd number.

However, today’s results were still important. As a result of ending up at No. 8, for instance, the Grizzlies now have a 57.4% chance of retaining their own top-eight protected pick, something they don’t really want to do unless it jumps into the top four.

The Celtics, who already have three first-round selections for 2019 and would prefer to roll that Memphis pick over to 2020, will get it if it falls outside of the top eight. There’s only a 42.6% chance that will happen. The Grizzlies’ result was the only good news today for the Celtics, who lost their other three tiebreakers.

The pre-lottery 2019 draft order for the first round is listed below. For more information on the lottery odds for the top 14 teams, be sure to check out our recap from Thursday, as well as our glossary entry on the draft lottery. This year’s lottery will take place on Tuesday, May 14.

  1. New York Knicks
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Phoenix Suns
  4. Chicago Bulls
  5. Atlanta Hawks
  6. Washington Wizards
  7. New Orleans Pelicans
  8. Memphis Grizzlies
    • Note: The Celtics will receive this pick if it falls out of the top eight (42.6% chance).
  9. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks)
    • Note: The Mavericks will keep this pick if it moves up into the top four (26.2% chance).
  10. Minnesota Timberwolves
  11. Los Angeles Lakers
  12. Charlotte Hornets
  13. Miami Heat
  14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento Kings)
    • Note: The Sixers will receive this pick if it moves up to No. 1 (1.0% chance).
  15. Detroit Pistons
  16. Orlando Magic
  17. Brooklyn Nets
  18. Indiana Pacers
  19. San Antonio Spurs
  20. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers)
  21. Oklahoma City Thunder
  22. Boston Celtics
  23. Utah Jazz
  24. Philadelphia 76ers
  25. Portland Trail Blazers
  26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Houston Rockets)
  27. Brooklyn Nets (via Denver Nuggets)
  28. Golden State Warriors
  29. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors)
  30. Milwaukee Bucks

Information from Tankathon.com was used in the creation of this post.

Five Teams Finish 2018/19 Season In Tax Territory

With the exception of bonuses that could still be earned – or missed – in the postseason, 2018/19 NBA team salaries are now frozen for luxury-tax purposes, ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes. That means that five teams will finish the ’18/19 season as taxpayers.

Here are those five teams, along with approximations of their projected luxury tax bills, per Marks:

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder: $61.6MM
  2. Golden State Warriors: $51.5MM
  3. Toronto Raptors: $21.4MM
  4. Portland Trail Blazers: $15.1MM
  5. Boston Celtics: $3.9MM

While the Warriors‘ payroll is actually slightly higher than Oklahoma City’s, the Thunder met the repeater tax criteria, since they also paid the tax in 2015, 2016, and 2018. As a result, they’re subject to more punitive penalties, as we outline in our glossary entry on the luxury tax. The standard penalties for taxpaying teams start at $1.50 per dollar and increase from there; the repeater penalties start at $2.50 per dollar.

Golden State will meet the repeater criteria next season if they’re in the tax again, since they’ll have paid the tax in 2016, 2018, and 2019. Teams qualify as repeat offenders when they’ve finished in the tax in three of the previous four seasons.

The figures listed above are subject to change. For instance, Kyle Lowry has three separate $500K bonuses that he could still receive, depending on how far the Raptors advance in the playoffs. If he earns any of those, they’d be added to Toronto’s payroll and would in turn increase the club’s tax bill.

Since half of the luxury tax penalty money is reallocated to the teams that finished out of the tax, those non-tax clubs are in line for payouts of approximately $3.1MM, per Marks.

The Heat, Wizards, and Rockets made in-season transactions to get out of tax territory and will now receive $3.1MM from the tax pool. Other clubs, such as the Grizzlies, Knicks, Hornets, Cavaliers, Pistons, and Bucks, managed to keep their team salaries just below the $123.73MM tax threshold throughout the league year.

Atlantic Notes: Leonard, Smart, Embiid

Kawhi Leonard played in only 60 games this season due to a team maintaince plan designed to preserve his health. He’s happy with how the Raptors have managed him in what could be his only season in Toronto.

“We did a great job just attacking the [injury] problem in the beginning during training camp,” Leonard said, as Ryan Wolstat of Toronto Sun tweets.“Laying out the schedule. I feel good. I wasn’t as healthy as I wanted to be this year, but, I couldn’t say I would have this type of season in the beginning of the year the way things started, the way I felt.

“I’m happy. We’re second place. We’ve got an opportunity to get where we want to get to.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Marcus Smart has suffered a torn left oblique and could miss the first two rounds of the playoffs, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports. The Celtics host the Pacers in the Eastern Conference’s 4-5 matchup.
  • Sixers GM Elton Brand said he’s “optimistic” that Joel Embiid will be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs, as NBC Sports’ Serena Winters relays (Twitter link). Including Philadelphia’s finale vs. the Bulls, Embiid has missed five of the team’s last seven games as a result of knee soreness and the staff’s management plan and it’s possible that the big man could sit in the
  • Jonathan Gibson‘s deal with the Celtics is only for the remainder of the season, per Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Gibson signed with Boston on Tuesday and didn’t see action in the team’s final game of the year.

Celtics Sign Jonathan Gibson

The Celtics have signed Jonathan Gibson, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Gibson played in China earlier this season, averaging 33.1 points per game.

Several members of the Celtics have been ruled out vs. the Wizards tonight and the team needed available players for the contest. Kyrie Irving, Aron Baynes, Gordon Hayward, and Jayson Tatum are among those will be sidelined.

Gibson was on the Celtics’ roster at the end of last season via the Hardship Exception, as Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports tweets.  Gibson has played in a total of 21 NBA games with Boston and Dallas.

Celtics Notes: Grizzlies’ Pick, Smart, Injuries, Irving

The Celtics’ front office hopes the first-round pick the Grizzlies owe them doesn’t convey this year, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets. The pick is top-8 protected and the Celtics “really” don’t want it this June, a source told Himmelsbach. The pick is top-6 protected next year and has no protections in 2021. The illusion of a potential top-three pick makes it more valuable as a bargaining chip in trades, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets.

We have more on the Celtics:

  • Marcus Smart‘s health is a concern heading into the playoffs. He suffered a strained oblique against the Magic on Sunday, Tim Bontemps of ESPN reports. The combo guard is averaging 8.8 PPG, 4.0 APG and 1.8 SPG in 27.5 MPG this season.  Jayson Tatum suffered a left shin contusion in the game.
  • Coach Brad Stevens will have to get creative with his rotation in the final regular-season game against Washington on Tuesday. The team’s PR department lists seven prominent players as out, one questionable and two others probable, Bontemps tweets.
  • Wins like the blowout victory over Indiana on Friday that locked up home-court advantage in the first round will make it more difficult for Kyrie Irving to leave in free agency, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes. While Irving is difficult to read, multiple Celtics have told Blakely that the point guard’s confidence and faith in his younger teammates has never wavered. “It doesn’t always come out right, what he says, but he’s got our back,” one unnamed teammate said.

Notable Draft Lottery Races To Watch This Week

The 16-64 Knicks have clinched the NBA’s worst record for the 2018/19 season, but a number of other spots behind them in the draft lottery remain very much up for grabs, as our reverse standings show. Now that every NBA team only has one or two games left on its schedule, here are the key races and games to keep an eye on this week:

The battle for No. 2:

A nine-game losing streak for the Cavaliers has pulled them even with the Suns for the No. 2 spot in the lottery standings, as both teams head into their final game of the season at 19-62. Each club plays its last game on Tuesday, with the Cavs hosting Charlotte while the Suns play in Dallas.

The Hornets are still fighting for their playoff lives and the Suns have a 7-33 road record this season, so it wouldn’t be surprise if both Cleveland and Phoenix lose and finish at 19-63. In that scenario, a coin flip would decide which team gets the second spot in the lottery standings and which team finishes third. Their odds at a top pick would be the same either way, but the third-place team could fall to as far as No. 7 in the draft, as opposed to No. 6.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Draft Lottery]

Four teams separated by one game between Nos. 6-9:

The Wizards (32-49) currently sit at No. 6 in the lottery standings, but the Grizzlies (32-48), Mavericks (32-48), and Pelicans (33-48) are right there with them. Adding intrigue to this logjam is the fact that the Grizzlies would like to see their top-eight protected first-round pick convey to Boston this season, while the Mavs probably wouldn’t mind keeping their top-five protected first-rounder.

Memphis, with the most incentive to win out, has perhaps the toughest schedule of this group, with games on tap in Detroit on Tuesday and vs. Golden State on Wednesday. The Pistons are still fighting to make the postseason, and the Warriors reportedly intend to play at least half of their regulars in the 82nd game. Wins won’t come easy for the Grizzlies.

The Pelicans’ final game comes on Tuesday vs. Golden State, in a contest which will likely feature the other half of the Warriors’ regulars.

The Wizards finish at home vs. the Celtics, who might be resting some top players now that they’ve sewn up the No. 4 seed in the East.

The Mavericks, meanwhile, have a winnable game at home vs. Phoenix on tap for Tuesday before finishing their season in San Antonio on Wednesday. The Spurs may still be battling for playoff seeding at that point.

The difference between finishing sixth and ninth in the lottery standings is significant. The No. 6 team has a 9% chance at the No. 1 pick and a 37.2% chance at a top-four selection. For the No. 9 team, those odds dip to 4.5% and 20.2%, respectively.

Minor back-of-the-lottery intrigue:

The Heat and Hornets are both 38-42 and remain in the hunt for the postseason. They’re currently just ahead of the 39-42 Kings in the lottery standings.

If Miami (vs. Philadelphia, at Brooklyn) and Charlotte (at Cleveland, vs. Orlando) both win out and the Kings lose in Portland on Wednesday, Sacramento would move up from No. 14 to No. 12 in the lottery standings. That’s not really a huge deal, since the No. 12 team is still a real long shot to move up.

Still, Sixers and Celtics fans will certainly take note of the difference between No. 14 (0.5% chance at the No. 1 pick; 2.4% chance at a top-four pick) and No. 12 (1.5% and 7.2%, respectively). If the Kings’ pick jumps to No. 1, Philadelphia would get it. If it lands anywhere else – including Nos. 2, 3, or 4 – it’ll go to Boston.