Celtics Rumors

Troy Williams Among Players Signed, Waived On Saturday

We passed along a large number of moves yesterday as most teams cut their rosters down to the regular season limit. NBA.com’s Transactions Log has a few more that slipped under the radar involving players who were signed and waived to either ensure their affiliate rights or to make sure returning-rights players get bonuses:

Williams is the only one in the group with previous NBA experience. He played 21 games for the Kings last season and has appeared in a combined 72 games over the past three years. Bibbs signed a pair of two-way contracts with the Clippers in March, but didn’t see any game action.

Celtics Waive Yante Maten, Max Strus

The Celtics trimmed their roster to the league limit by waiving Yante Maten and Max Strus, the team announced in a tweet. Boston also confirmed the release of Kaiser Gates, which appeared on NBA.com’s official transactions log last night.

The moves mean Javonte Green appears to have earned a roster spot to begin the season. The 26-year-old swingman had been playing overseas since going undrafted in 2015.

Green was reportedly battling for the final spot with Strus, who had his contract converted from a two-way deal this week and received a guarantee of nearly half the $898,310 minimum salary for a rookie this season.

Because his guarantee exceeds $50K, Strus is ineligible to join Boston’s G League team on a two-way deal or as an affiliate player. The guarantee also prevents him from signing a two-way deal with any team, but he could play in the G League with another organization.

Maten, who signed with the Celtics just before camp opened, was on a two-way contract with the Heat for most of last season. He appeared in only two NBA games, but earned second team All-G League honors at Sioux Falls.

Celtics Release Kaiser Gates

The Celtics have waived forward Kaiser Gates, according to NBA.com’s official transactions log. The move leaves Boston with 19 players under contract.

Gates, who will turn 23 in November, spent most of last season with the Windy City Bulls after going undrafted out of Xavier. In 50 NBAGL games, the forward recorded 12.7 PPG and 6.4 RPG with a .408/.375/.786 shooting line.

The Maine Red Claws – Boston’s G League affiliate – acquired Gates’ returning rights from Windy City last month, so after joining the C’s for camp and the preseason, he’s on track to report to Maine and receive an Exhibit 10 bonus worth up to $50K if he spends 60 or more days with the club.

Ainge Addresses Brown Negotiations; Kemba Liking Role In Boston

A Wednesday report suggested the Celtics have offered Jaylen Brown a four-year, $80MM contract extension and that the young swingman passed on that offer in search of a more lucrative deal. Appearing on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston on Thursday, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge referred to that report as “not accurate,” though he declined to offer any real specifics on the team’s talks with Brown.

“We are working to come to some result by Monday as our deadline, and the negotiations have gone well,” the Celtics’ top decision-maker said, per Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. “It’s just not an accurate report, that’s all. We’ve given him numerous offers. We’ve been negotiating for a little while. So, that’s all.”

Shams Charania of The Athletic wrote earlier today that multiple teams are watching the Celtics’ negotiations with Brown closely, since the soon-to-be-23-year-old would be a prime candidate for a big offer sheet if he reaches restricted free agency next summer. However, Ainge said that neither Brown nor the C’s are “too stressed” about the situation, as Forsberg notes.

  • After assuming most of the scoring and play-making responsibilities in Charlotte, Kemba Walker is enjoying playing on a Celtics team that has players capable of sharing that burden, writes John Karalis of MassLive.com. “It takes a lot of pressure off me,” Walker said earlier this week. “I’m getting a lot of different shots as well, but I’m loving it, not having to do so much all the time. Hopefully my usage rate might be going down a little bit. It allows other guys to make plays and I can appreciate that for sure.”

Celtics Rumors: J. Brown, J. Green, Strus

Meanwhile, in other rookie scale extension news, Charania says several teams around the NBA are monitoring the negotiations between the Celtics and Jaylen Brown. Sources tell Charania that those teams are waiting to see if they’ll get a chance to “make Boston and GM Danny Ainge pay” with a big offer sheet for Brown next summer.

[SOURCE LINK]

  • Charania provides updates on a pair of roster battles, writing that Javonte Green is the favorite to become the Celtics‘ 15th man over Max Strus, while Marquese Chriss is “moving closer” to claiming a regular season roster spot with the Warriors.

Extension Rumors: Hield, Brown, Siakam

Teams carrying players eligible for rookie scale extensions have five more days to beat the October 21 deadline and lock up those players to long-term deals, with Buddy Hield (Kings), Jaylen Brown (Celtics), and Pascal Siakam (Raptors) among the prime extension candidates.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports has updates on the extension talks for all three players, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • The Kings have made Hield a four-year offer worth $90MM, league sources tell Haynes. However, the sharpshooter and agent Brandon Rosenthal are seeking a deal closer to $110MM. Based on the NBA’s latest cap projections for 2020/21, a four-year, maximum-salary contract for Hield with Sacramento would be worth just shy of $130MM, so even a $110MM deal would come in well below the max.
  • Although the Celtics aren’t typically aggressive when it comes to finalizing rookie scale extensions, they’ve put a four-year, $80MM offer on the table for Brown, league sources tell Haynes. However, the swingman, who turns 23 next week, believes in his ability to become a star and is seeking a more lucrative offer.
  • Siakam is the most likely player in this group to sign a new contract by Monday, according to Haynes, who refers to the Raptors‘ forward as a “virtual lock” to be extended. However, it will likely require a maximum-salary offer from Toronto, league sources inform Haynes. A five-year max for Siakam would be worth a projected $168MM, and could even get as high as $202MM if it includes Rose Rule language.

Celtics Notes: Theis, Strus, Langford, Williams

Daniel Theis is making a strong case to start at center for the Celtics, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston reports.

Theis, who has only started five of the 129 regular season games he’s played with Boston over the past two seasons, has more experience in Brad Stevens’ system than any other big man on the roster. That could give him an edge over Enes Kanter and Robert Williams. He’s also adept at making defensive switches.

“If you watch closely, that’s a tied-together group on that end of the court,” Stevens said of playing Theis with the other starters. Theis is making $5MM this season but his $5MM salary for 2020/21 is not guaranteed.

We have more on the Celtics:

  • Max Strus is a serious candidate to get the 15th and final spot on the opening night roster, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald tweets.  The shooting guard just had his two-way contract converted to a standard two-year deal with a partial guarantee. The guarantee is worth $415K, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. However, he could still be waived, Murphy adds. The 23-year-old Strus went undrafted after playing his college ball at DePaul.
  • Stevens offers high praise for his first-year players, including Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Tacko Fall, and Carsen Edwards, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets“That’s as good of a group of rookie workers that I’ve ever been around …those guys grind,” he said.
  • The team has picked up the 2020/21 options on Jayson Tatum and Williams. Get all the details here.

Celtics Pick Up 2020/21 Options On Tatum, Williams

The Celtics have exercised their fourth-year option on former No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Boston has also picked up its third-year option on 2018 first-rounder Robert Williams, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Both options are for the 2020/21 season, with Tatum’s cap hit ($9,897,120) significantly outweighing Williams’ ($2,029,920). Tatum will now be eligible for a contract extension in 2020 and would be on track for restricted free agency in 2021 if he doesn’t sign a new deal next year. Williams has one more year on his rookie contract in 2021/22 — the C’s will have to make a decision on that option by October 31 next year.

Both Tatum and Williams could take on more responsibilities in 2019/20 after a handful of veterans left the Celtics over the summer. Tatum, in particular, figures to be leaned on more heavily as an offensive play-maker with Kyrie Irving no longer in the mix, as the Celtics hope the 21-year-old can take another leap after an up-and-down performance last season.

Williams, meanwhile, will play a more modest role, but Boston’s frontcourt situation is unsettled now that Al Horford, Aron Baynes, and Marcus Morris are playing for new teams. There could be regular minutes available for the former Texas A&M standout going forward.

With the October 31 deadline nearing, we’re tracking all of the 2020/21 rookie scale option decisions from around the NBA right here.

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Strus, Thybulle, Siakam

Despite improving his already-impressive arsenal, Sixers star Ben Simmons can’t get caught up in settling for jumpers behind the arc this season, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Simmons shocked the Philadelphia crowd as the first half of the team’s preseason game against the Guangzhou Long-Lions came to a close last week, connecting on a deep shot from three-point territory — much to the delight of his fans and teammates alike.

“I know what I’m good at,” Simmons said, according to Pompey. “I know what I’m great at. There’s things I need to work on, but my game is not going to change in a day.

“I’m not going to come out and be shooting lights-out like [Golden State’s] Klay [Thompson] and Steph [Curry] or guys like them. My game is developing, and I work hard.”

As most fans already know, Simmons played the entire 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons without making a single three-pointer. He appeared in 160 regular season games during those campaigns and finished 0-for-17 from deep, which doesn’t include his lone three-point miss in 22 postseason games.

At 6’10” and 230 pounds, Simmons is known to be one of the most versatile point guards in the NBA. His game would be much more dangerous for opposing defenses if the 23-year-old manages to develop a consistent stroke from three-point territory.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • The Celtics moved to sign Max Strus on a two-year deal largely because Strus was willing to add a fully non-guaranteed year in his contract next season, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. Strus has impressed Boston officials with his strong efforts in practice, earning a new deal with the organization on Sunday.
  • Sixers wing Matisse Thybulle looks ready to work for a spot in the team’s rotation this season, Derek Bodner of The Athletic writes. Thybulle, 22, had his draft rights traded from Boston to Philadelphia after being selected with the No. 20 pick last June.
  • The Raptors will need even more production from fourth-year forward and reigning Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam in order to be successful again this year, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. “We’ll give him a lot of freedom and a lot of opportunities to continue to expand his game,” head coach Nick Nurse said, according to Smith. “He should be somebody that has a great season. I think he can expand it and maybe (add) five, six points a game to his scoring average.”

Celtics Converting Tacko Fall To Two-Way Contract

The Celtics are converting the contract of big man Tacko Fall to a two-way contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowki of ESPN. As most two-way players do, the 7’6″ rookie will spend most of his season developing with his team’s G-League affiliate – the Maine Red Claws – but can spend up to 45 days with the Celtics in the NBA.

As Tim Bontemps of ESPN observes, the Celtics were able to open up a two-way spot for Fall alongside fellow rookie Tremont Waters by converting rookie swingman Max Strus to a standard contract earlier today. Bobby Marks of ESPN noted in response to that development that Boston had until next Monday to convert Fall to a two-way contract.

Fall, 23, has become one of the most popular players in the NBA since becoming a member of the Celtics this summer. He made a strong impression in limited Summer League minutes, making 17-of-22 shots from the field and averaging 7.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 1.4 BPG in just 12.6 minutes per contest (five games).