Justin Jackson (UNC)

International Notes: Landale, Jackson, Kaminsky, James, Loyd

Rockets center Jock Landale confirmed on Twitter that he won’t be part of the Australian national team that will compete in the World Cup beginning next week. As we detailed on Thursday, Landale suffered an ankle injury during an exhibition game against South Sudan this week.

“Sitting here this morning knowing the Boomers are about to take off to Japan and I’m absolutely kicking myself I’m not right there beside them,” Landale wrote. “All the build up and preparation we go through as athletes just to have it yanked away 12 hours beforehand sucks.

“… Focus turns to supporting them how I can and preparing for this season with the Rockets,” Landale added.

Landale was said to be undergoing an MRI on his injured ankle on Friday. The results of that MRI and a diagnosis have yet to be reported, but hopefully the big man will be back to full health by the time the NBA season begins in October.

Here’s more from around the international basketball world:

  • Former NBA first-round pick Justin Jackson is believed to be receiving some interest from Israeli team Hapoel Tel Aviv, per a Walla Sport report (hat tip to Sportando). The veteran forward, who has played for six teams since entering the NBA as a 15th overall pick in 2017, appeared in 23 games for Boston in 2022/23. He was traded to Oklahoma City and waived in February.
  • Having signed with the Belgrade-based team KK Partizan, veteran NBA big man Frank Kaminsky noted that he has Serbian roots on his mother’s side and said that he spoke to former Hawks teammate Bogdan Bogdanovic before he agreed to join Partizan. “I called him first when the possibility arose to move to Partizan,” Kaminsky said, per Eurohoops. “He said a lot of nice things about the club and the city, which helped me make the decision to sign the contract.”
  • Appearing on the URBONUS podcast with Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com, former NBA guard Mike James confirmed that the plan is for him to remain with AS Monaco alongside new addition Kemba Walker for the 2023/24 season. James – who was rumored to be a Suns target early in the offseason – has one more season left on his contract with Monaco and sounds like he’s looking forward to exploring his options in 2024. “I think for this season, I’m here,” James said. “Free agency is the next summer and we’ll see what happens.”
  • Another former NBA guard who is playing for AS Monaco, Jordan Loyd, is expected to miss at least the next two or three months after undergoing lumbar spine surgery, tweets Urbonas.

Wolves Notes: Minott, Edwards, Free Agents

Josh Minott created excitement among Timberwolves fans with his G League highlights, but he knows he still has a lot to prove at the NBA level, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. The second-year small forward understands that nothing will be given to him as he tries to make an NBA breakthrough, so he’s been approaching Summer League play the same way he did as a rookie.

“Last year, had no respect. This year, no respect,” Minott said. “I’m just trying to go out there and just show what I can do, show the coaching staff.”

The 45th pick in the 2022 draft, Minott impressed scouts with his athleticism, but he saw limited playing time in college and shot just 14% from three-point range. The Wolves took a chance on him because president of basketball operations Tim Connelly believed his energy, play-making and defense could help him develop into an NBA player.

Minnesota needs someone to replace Taurean Prince, who was lost to the Lakers in free agency, and Minott hopes to seize that opportunity. Krawczynski states that Minott has been working out regularly at the team facility, and the Wolves are giving him challenging defensive assignments during Summer League.

“They’re not trying to see me come down and jack five 3s,” Minott said. “They’re trying to see me come down and lock up their best player and stuff like that, cut, a lot of off-ball actions, screening, rolling, slipping, being able to knock down a corner 3 if need be. Overall, in terms of what I can do, it’s whatever a team’s missing.”

There’s more on the Timberwolves:

Rory Maher contributed to this post.

Final Round-Up Of 2022/23 In-Season Trades

We covered 11 of the significant in-season deals of 2022/23 in our trade breakdown series. Here’s a rundown of the six other trades that occurred in January and February.


Noah Vonleh salary dump

On January 5:

  • The Spurs acquired Noah Vonleh and cash ($1.5MM)
  • The Celtics acquired the Spurs’ 2024 second-round pick (top-54 protected)

Entering 2022/23, the Spurs were one of two teams with a significant amount of cap room available, making them a prime target for salary dumps. That’s all this trade boiled down to for the Celtics.

By trading Vonleh before his salary became guaranteed, the Celtics not only removed his $1.16MM cap hit and saved $7.15MM toward their luxury tax bill, but they also freed up a roster spot. It also minimized the amount of cash they had to send out to make the deal – if they had waited a few more days, Vonleh’s cap hit would have increased to $1,836,090, which is the standard amount for all veterans on one-year, minimum-salary contracts.

The Celtics still technically paid Vonleh all but two days of the prorated minimum salary he received this season — the Spurs paid the final two days after acquiring and waiving him. Removing him from the books was purely about the financial impact, as he was a deep-bench reserve who seldom played (in 23 games, he averaged just 7.4 minutes per contest).

Boston also created a traded player exception equivalent to Vonleh’s salary since it didn’t receive a player in return.

Vonleh did not catch on with another team after the trade and the 27-year-old big man will still be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The pick the Spurs sent out is extremely unlikely to convey — they just had to send something back in return. They also waived – and later re-signed – center Gorgui Dieng as part of this trade, which moved them marginally closer to the salary cap floor.

Essentially, they net gained about $339K in cash as part of the deal and were able to keep Dieng around as a veteran leader after he cleared waivers .


Dewayne Dedmon salary dump

On February 7:

  • The Spurs acquired Dewayne Dedmon and the Heat’s 2028 second-round pick
  • The Heat acquired cash ($110K).

Another salary dump, this time for the Heat. Dedmon had fallen out of Miami’s rotation – he had been dealing with plantar fasciitis, and was suspended one game for a sideline incident that saw him swat a Theragun (a massage device) onto the court out of anger after being subbed out.

Removing Dedmon’s $4.7MM cap hit gave the Heat the financial flexibility to sign a couple of frontcourt reinforcements — Kevin Love and Cody Zeller — while still remaining below the luxury tax line. They already had one open roster spot and removing Dedmon freed up a second, so they didn’t have to release anyone to add the two veterans.

As with Boston, Miami also generated a TPE equal to Dedmon’s salary since the team didn’t acquire a player in return.

As previously mentioned, the Spurs had ample cap room available and used more of it to add and then waive Dedmon (who signed with the Sixers but rarely plays), acquiring a second-round pick in the process. They only sent out $110K to complete the transaction, which is the minimum amount a team can send or receive in a trade in ‘22/23.


Kessler Edwards salary dump

On February 7:

Another minor trade, this time a salary dump for the Nets. The primary difference is the Kings actually kept Edwards instead of immediately waiving him.

Brooklyn saved about $8MM in salary and luxury tax payments by moving Edwards, a 2021 second-round pick out of Pepperdine. He showed some promise as a rookie, but only played 27 minutes for the Nets this season.

As a second-year player on a minimum-salary contract, Edwards is earning $1,637,966 in ‘22/23. That’s the amount of the TPE the Nets created in this deal. Michineau is currently playing in Italy and every year he remains overseas, he’s less likely to ever be brought stateside.

Still just 22 years old, Edwards has been a rotation member over the past month for Sacramento, averaging 3.9 points and 2.0 rebounds on .435/.349/.769 shooting in 22 games (13.9 minutes). The Kings will have a $1.93MM team option on Edwards for ‘23/24 if they want to bring him back – considering he was getting rotation minutes down the stretch, I’d be mildly surprised if they don’t exercise it.


Rockets/Hawks four-player deal

On February 9:

This trade (understandably) flew under the radar a bit due to all the blockbusters on deadline day, but it was pretty interesting for both sides because it was more complicated than it appears on the surface.

For example, the Hawks were able to treat this as essentially three separate trades rolled into one. They acquired Mathews with an existing TPE, did a simultaneous trade of Kaminsky for Fernando, and then a non-simultaneous trade of Holiday, which allowed them to create a new mid-sized outstanding trade exception of $6,292,440, equal to Holiday’s outgoing cap charge.

Both Mathews (26) and Fernando (24) are young and have played some solid basketball across their four NBA seasons, and their contracts are affordable. However, neither played much for the Hawks, and their salaries are non-guaranteed for ’23/24, so it’s certainly not a given that they’ll be back next season.

The primary purpose of the deal was to clear enough salary cap space to remain below the luxury tax line. Atlanta used that extra breathing room to acquire Saddiq Bey – a third-year forward who has become a key bench contributor – with a separate trade exception.

The Rockets could not complete this as a straight two-for-two simultaneous trade, as the amount of incoming money from Holiday and Kaminsky was greater than 175% of Mathews’ and Fernando’s salaries (plus $100K). Instead, they treated it as a simultaneous trade for Holiday and used the minimum salary exception to acquire Kaminsky.

Houston’s primary motivation was to acquire the two second-round picks from the Thunder, which Atlanta controlled from a previous trade. OKC is on an upward trajectory, so it’s hard to say where those picks might land, but it was solid value for taking on about $4MM in added salary.

The Rockets reportedly had interest in retaining both veterans, but Holiday wound up seeking a buyout and caught on with the Mavericks. Both Holiday and Kaminsky will be unrestricted free agents this summer.


Mike Muscala to Boston

On February 9:

  • The Celtics acquired Mike Muscala
  • The Thunder acquired Justin Jackson, a 2023 second-round pick and Boston’s 2029 second-round pick

A classic win-now move from a championship contender, which Boston certainly is. A long-range shooting specialist, Muscala has shot a combined 40.8% from deep over the past two seasons, averaging 6.9 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 14.5 MPG over that span (106 games).

Adding another big man shooter allows the Celtics to play a five-out system to maximize floor spacing for drives, kick-outs, and swinging the ball around to find the open man. He’s also on a relatively affordable $3.5MM contract with an identical team option for ‘23/24 – it’s important to find value on the cheap for any team, but particularly taxpayers like Boston.

You could say this deal is sort of connected to the aforementioned salary dump of Vonleh, since the Celtics added about $6.4MM to their tax bill by swapping out Jackson’s minimum-salary contract for Muscala. The Celtics had to use a trade exception left over from last year’s trade deadline to acquire him, as Jackson’s cap hit wasn’t large enough to match his incoming salary (they also created another small trade exception equivalent to Jackson’s salary).

While Muscala is far from a defensive stopper, his teams have actually been better on that end with him on the court in each of the past three seasons. The 31-year-old is not a rim protector nor a great rebounder, so those numbers may be a little noisy due to primarily playing against reserves.

The Thunder added Jackson (and then immediately waived him) using the minimum salary exception, generating a new trade exception equivalent to Muscala’s $3.5MM salary. They also added a couple of second-round picks, which is solid value given Muscala’s modest role — as the youngest team in the league, it’s not like Muscala was in OKC’s long-term plans, even if he was a steady veteran presence who contributed on the court as well.

Interestingly, the 2023 second-rounder heading to OKC is still up in the air and won’t be determined until next month’s draft lottery, because the Rockets finished the season tied with the Spurs for the NBA’s second-worst record – whichever team selects earlier in the lottery will have the less favorable second-round pick.

If Houston’s second-round pick lands at No. 32, the Thunder will receive the Heat’s second-rounder (via Boston), but if it lands at No. 33, OKC will receive Portland’s second-rounder (via Boston).

There’s a substantial difference in value between those two second-rounders – the Blazers’ pick will land at No. 35, while the Heat’s will be between Nos. 48-50 (pending the results of a three-team tiebreaker). Clearly, the Thunder will be hoping that Houston drafts ahead of San Antonio in the first round, though I’m sure they’d rather not see either of their conference rivals land the No. 1 overall pick and the chance to select Victor Wembanyama.


Mason Plumlee to the Clippers

On February 9:

Another relatively modest win-now deal, this time for the Clippers, who had been looking for reliable center depth leading up to the deadline and found it in Plumlee, a 10-year veteran who was surprisingly having the best season of his career for Charlotte at age 32.

In 56 games with the Hornets, all starts, he posted career highs in several categories, including field-goal percentage (66.9%), points (12.2), rebounds (9.7), assists (3.7) and minutes per game (28.5). His playing time has dipped since he joined the Clippers, which is understandable because he’s playing behind Ivica Zubac – he averaged 7.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 23 games (four starts, 19.9 minutes).

Plumlee’s expiring salary made him a natural trade candidate, particularly since the Hornets have drafted multiple centers in the past few years and had a disappointing 2022/23 season due in part to off-court issues and injuries. Jackson was reportedly a positive locker-room presence, but he was struggling for the second straight season and the Clippers only had to give up one second-rounder and some cash to complete the deal.

Plumlee has some limitations (he’s a non-shooter and a below-average defender), but he plays hard, sets solid screens, and generally is in the right spots. The Clippers will have his Bird rights if they want to re-sign him this summer.

L.A. also generated a small ($2,134,843) trade exception as part of the deal, which was the difference in Jackson’s ($11,215,260) and Plumlee’s ($9,080,417) salaries. While the Clippers did save some money here, they actually added to their tax bill with their other trades (acquiring Bones Hyland and Eric Gordon in separate deals).

One rumor leading up to the deadline indicated the Hornets were looking for a first-round pick for Plumlee, but I didn’t view that as realistic – he’s mostly been a backup, and while his contract isn’t unreasonable, it’s also expiring, so he could be a rental player. They also received some cash as part of the deal to help offset the aforementioned salary differences.

Jackson subsequently reached a buyout and signed with Denver, so clearly the primary motivation for Charlotte was extracting whatever draft capital it could in return for Plumlee. I’m sure giving the team’s young centers more minutes was a motivating factor as well, but president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said after the deadline that he was concerned about having so many free agents due to the uncertainty of what it will take to re-sign them.

The Hornets gave backup center Nick Richards a three-year, $15MM extension last month, so both he and rookie starter Mark Williams will be under team control for at least three more seasons.

And-Ones: Dorsey, Muhammad, B. Miller, Tall Ball

The Texas Legends – the Mavericks‘ G League affiliate – have parted ways with guard Tyler Dorsey, the team announced today (via Twitter). Dorsey had been averaging 18.9 points per game with a .370 3PT% in 12 regular season appearances (30.7 MPG) for the Legends.

It’s possible Dorsey recognized that no NBA call-up opportunities were imminent and requested his release — as a Eurohoops story notes, March 1 is the deadline for EuroLeague teams to add new players to their rosters, and Dorsey reportedly drew interest from multiple clubs in the EuroLeague when he was waived by Dallas earlier this season.

Meanwhile, the Texas Legends announced on Friday that they’ve reacquired veteran forward Justin Jackson. Jackson, who played for the Legends last season, spent most of this season in Boston, but was traded to Oklahoma City at this month’s trade deadline and was subsequently waived by the Thunder.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Free agent wing Shabazz Muhammad has agreed to a “significant” deal with Beirut Club in Lebanon, his agency Edge Sports International announced (via Twitter). The former first-round pick signed a G League contract earlier this season as he attempted to make his way back to the NBA, but will continue his career overseas for now.
  • After police testimony earlier this week revealed that star Alabama prospect Brandon Miller allegedly brought the gun that was used in the killing of a woman on the Tuscaloosa strip last month, Miller’s attorney issued a statement attempting to clarify the 20-year-old’s role (or lack thereof) in the incident (link via Jeff Goodman of Stadium). As Jeff Borzello of ESPN writes, the school announced in a statement on Wednesday that Miller would continue to play for the Crimson Tide, since he’s “not considered a suspect in this case, only a cooperative witness.” Several hours later, Miller scored a career-high 41 points in an overtime win over South Carolina.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic explores the resurgence of “Tall Ball” across the NBA, pointing to frontcourt pairings in Cleveland (Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley), Milwaukee (Brook Lopez, Giannis Antetokounmpo), and Washington (Kristaps Porzingis, Daniel Gafford) as some examples of the trend.

Thunder Add Eugene Omoruyi To 15-Man Roster

10:51pm: Omoruyi’s new contract and promotion to the 15-man roster is official, according to a team press release.


6:58pm: The Thunder are converting forward Eugene Omoruyi‘s two-way contract to a standard deal, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

The contract will run through the 2023/24 season, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet. Details were not disclosed but it’s likely a minimum deal without a full guarantee for next season.

Omoruyi signed a two-way contract in early July.

He has appeared in 21 NBA games this season, including two starts. He’s averaged 5.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.2 minutes per night.

The Thunder opened up a roster spot by trading Mike Muscala to Boston. Though Justin Jackson was sent to OKC in the deal, he was waived on Friday.

Omoruyi went undrafted in 2021 and spent time with the Mavericks on a two-way deal last year. He suffered a season-ending injury in December and was subsequently waived.

During his college career, he spent three seasons at Rutgers and one season at Oregon before declaring for the 2021 NBA draft.

Thunder Trade Mike Muscala To Celtics

9:54pm: The trade sending Muscala to Boston for Jackson and two second-round picks is official, according to a press release from the Thunder.


2:21pm: The Thunder will receive the Celtics’ 2029 second-round pick and the least favorable of Boston’s two 2023 second-round picks, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

The terms dictating which ’23 second-rounder OKC will acquire are complex, but the pick will almost certainly belong to either Dallas, Miami, or Portland.


10:55am: The Celtics will acquire big man Mike Muscala from the Thunder in exchange for Justin Jackson and two second-round picks, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Muscala, 31, has spent the last several seasons in Oklahoma City, playing a relatively consistent role as a solid floor-spacing frontcourt reserve as the team shifted from playoff contention into rebuilding mode.

Since joining the Thunder in 2019, Muscala has averaged 7.0 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 168 total games (14.5 MPG), making 1.5 threes per game at a 39.2% clip. Those numbers are very similar to the ones he has put up in 43 games (14.5 MPG) so far this season — 6.2 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and a .394 3PT%.

While Muscala isn’t exactly an impact player, he’s a good fit for a Celtics team that had been on the hunt for frontcourt insurance behind Robert Williams and Al Horford. The terms of Muscala’s contract give him the ability to veto a trade, but it’s hard to imagine he’d turn down the opportunity to join a legitimate title contender.

Since Jackson is on a minimum-salary contract, his $1.84MM cap hit isn’t enough to match Muscala’s incoming $3.5MM salary, so the Celtics will have to use a trade exception left over from last year’s trade deadline to acquire the big man. The Thunder will take on Jackson using the minimum salary exception, generating a new trade exception equivalent to Muscala’s $3.5MM salary.

Jackson is expected to be waived by the Thunder once the deal is complete, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, the deal projects to increase the Celtics’ luxury tax bill from about $58.9MM to $65.3MM.

Celtics Notes: Udoka, Mazzulla, Pritchard, Jackson, White

The Celtics continue to hope their coaching situation resolves itself with Ime Udoka landing another job, but a rival general manager tells Steve Bullpett of Heavy that may not be likely. Although Boston is expected to keep Joe Mazzulla in place beyond this season, he’s still technically the interim coach. Udoka’s suspension for an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate will expire June 30, and the team may have to negotiate a settlement to keep both Udoka and Mazzulla happy.

The problem appeared to be solved when Udoka emerged as the frontrunner for the Nets’ job after they parted ways with Steve Nash in November. But Brooklyn officials changed their minds about hiring Udoka, which the GM believes may reflect the opinion around the league.

“There’s still a lot of question about all that went on with him, but even just the fact that he didn’t fight the suspension says something,” the GM said. “From a team standpoint, it’s hard to bring him in right now. You’ve got women on your staff that could have a problem with it, and there’s the public. … Just the social media climate would bring a lot of criticism.”

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Payton Pritchard has sat out 14 games this season due to coach’s decision, but he has been delivering when called on, observes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Pritchard turned in solid performances this week while replacing Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, and he might see regular minutes during Brown’s expected absence. There have been trade rumors regarding Pritchard, who will be eligible for a rookie scale extension during the offseason, but he’s been trying to ignore them and focus on playing. “Obviously I hear it, I see it,” he said. “I know what it is. But that’s not something I can focus on. I’ll let my agent handle that and (team president) Brad (Stevens). I’ll focus on basketball.”
  • The decision to keep Justin Jackson on the roster past last weekend’s salary guarantee date was made to provide insurance in case of a long-term injury to Brown or Jayson Tatum, Brian Robb of MassLive states in a mailbag column. The Celtics don’t have many other options at the wing, Robb adds, so it was safer to guarantee Jackson’s contract than to fill the opening through 10-day deals.
  • Derrick White was forced to leave Saturday’s game at Charlotte after spraining his neck midway through the first quarter, per Souichi Terada of MassLive.

Robert Williams Hopes To Return By Christmas

Celtics center Robert Williams expects to be back on the court by Christmas Day, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said tonight on the network’s pre-game show (video link), relaying a conversation with Williams’ agent.

Williams is “progressing well” with his rehab after undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in September, Woj adds, noting that it was the second knee operation for Williams this year. Williams was originally projected to miss eight to 12 weeks, and the Celtics have been cautious about his return. He began participating in three-on-three drills a few days ago.

Williams became a full-time starter last season and emerged as a defensive anchor during Boston’s run to the NBA Finals. The Celtics are off to a 14-4 start without him, but Wojnarowski believes they’ll be in the market for another center to provide insurance against further injuries.

“I think for Boston now as you start to look out to the February trade deadline, I think another big man, another center who could play minutes in the case of Rob Williams missing time or a 36-year-old Al Horford being out,” Wojnarowski said. “They are trying to close every hole they can to be a championship team. We can watch Boston as they get closer to the trade deadline, seeing if there are any frontcourt help off their bench they could acquire.”

The Celtics were already rumored to have interest in Spurs center Jakob Poeltl, notes Brian Robb of MassLive. He also points out that Noah Vonleh and Justin Jackson both have contracts that won’t be guaranteed until early January, making it easy to waive them if an open roster spot is needed. Boston also has two trade exceptions that could be used to acquire players earning between $5-7MM without sending out salary in return.

Lakers’ Ryan, Celtics’ Jackson, Knicks’ Arcidiacono Earn Roster Spots

Lakers sharpshooter Matt Ryan will survive today’s cuts and is on track to be part of the team’s opening night roster next week, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Ryan is one of a handful of players on non-guaranteed training camp contracts confirmed to be making their teams’ respective rosters. Celtics forward Justin Jackson will survive the cut in Boston, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link), while Knicks guard Ryan Arcidiacono will do the same in New York, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Ryan perhaps solidified his spot on the Lakers’ regular season roster with his performance in last Sunday’s preseason game, when he poured in hit six three-pointers and poured in 20 points. He’s one of three L.A. players on non-guaranteed contracts who is seemingly on track to make the regular season roster, along with Austin Reaves and Wenyen Gabriel.

It’s a similar situation in Boston, where Jackson appears poised to join Noah Vonleh and Luke Kornet as Celtics whose deals are mostly or fully non-guaranteed. Jackson seemingly beat out Jake Layman for the 15th spot on the roster.

As for Arcidiacono, this will be the second straight season he has began on a non-guaranteed contract with New York. The Knicks have 13 players on fully guaranteed deals, so they’ll be able to keep one more player in addition to Arcidiacono, assuming they carry a full 15-man roster. Svi Mykhailiuk looks like the favorite to be that player.

Celtics Rumors: G. Williams, Final Roster Spots, Coaching Staff

The Celtics and forward Grant Williams have had discussions about a rookie scale extension, but no deal appears imminent, according to reports from Jared Weiss of The Athletic and Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

A league source tells Himmelsbach that, as of Thursday afternoon, the two sides were at something of a stalemate, with Williams believed to be seeking approximately $14-16MM annually over four years, while Boston’s offers have fallen short of that.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who wrote earlier this week that there doesn’t appear to be an extension coming for Williams, said on Wednesday that he’s heard the forward’s camp has conveyed to the Celtics that the team’s most recent offer won’t be accepted before Monday’s deadline (hat tip to HoopsHype). However, that doesn’t mean Boston won’t increase its offer in the coming days.

Whether or not Williams signs an extension on or before Monday, he’ll be viewed as an important part of the future for the Celtics, who would be able to make him a restricted free agent next summer, Himmelsbach writes.

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • The Celtics plan to enter the season carrying a full roster of 15 players, a league source tells Himmelsbach. Danilo Gallinari‘s ACL injury is a factor in that decision — with Gallinari sidelined, holding open a roster spot would essentially put Boston down two players.
  • The Celtics have 11 players on guaranteed contracts, with Al Horford and Luke Kornet (both on partial guarantees) also expected to make the roster. That leaves two openings, and Noah Vonleh looks like a safe bet to grab one of them, according to Himmelsbach, who says Jake Layman, Justin Jackson, and Mfiondu Kabengele are probably vying for the last spot. Since Kabengele is already on a two-way contract, Boston may prefer to use that 15th spot on Layman or Jackson, neither of whom are eligible for a two-way deal.
  • The Celtics had been exploring the market in search of an assistant coach to add to Joe Mazzulla‘s staff following his promotion to the interim head coaching job. However, they’ve ultimately decided they’re happy with their current group and intend to move forward without making a hire, writes Himmelsbach.
  • In an in-depth story for NBC Sports Boston, Chris Forsberg takes a look at why Celtics players believe Malcolm Brogdon is capable of being the piece that pushes them over the top. “I’ve played against him for a couple years now so I know what he brings,” Jayson Tatum said of his new teammate. “I’m extremely happy that we have him.”