Boston Celtics Mailbag: Rudy Gay trade, Al Horford future, big free agent possibilities

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We run a weekly post during the Celtics offseason. If you have any questions about the Celtics or the NBA, email [email protected] or tweet @briantrobb

Which veteran big man do you think they should sign before the summer ends? Should they play guys 2 with some of the starting/rotating guys in pre-season to see what they have? Who do you think will contribute more, PP or Hauser off the bench as the 11th/12th man? –Eddy

The list of great ones available right now is uninspiring to say the least. I’ll have a full list of options here at MassLive next week, but one name that’s still around that would intrigue me a bit is Cody Zeller. He’s coming off an injury that caused the Blazers to waive him last year, but he’s still in his 20s. If he can pull it off, his upside is a bit more appealing than the rest of the veterans.

We won’t see a 2-man guy in the usual rotation during the playoffs, but a guy like Kabengele will definitely be in the mix to compete for the 11th or 12th man on the roster that could see limited reps on Al Horford nights and/or or Rob Williams. Pritchard will certainly be in the mix for a regular rotation spot despite the team’s depth in the backcourt. Could see Ime Udoka downsize with a few units from the bench to buy him some minutes if he earns a spot in training camp. Hauser has a much tougher road for a few minutes due to the talent that awaits him.

Thinking of trading for Jordan Clarkson? —Edwin K.

That doesn’t happen after the Malcolm Brogdon trade. The Celtics wouldn’t pay what would be the fifth-best guard on their $27 million roster for the next two years. I’d expect him to be dealt somewhere by Danny Ainge if Utah completely rebuilds with a Donovan Mitchell trade, but that place isn’t going to be Boston.

Is there any chance the Celts will strike a new 2 year deal with Horford (not an extension) for ~35m to lower the cap reached this year to allow the use of TPE which would add to the tax bill? This would effectively add ~9 million for another year of service. Something I think the team would like. Win win. — Dustin W.

Good question Dustin. That would have been a possibility if Horford or the Celtics had an option on the final year of his contract. However, that’s not the case, so there’s no real way for the Celtics to lower their cap for this year. Horford could be waived and then re-sign for the veteran’s minimum, but the Celtics wouldn’t have bird rights on him in said scenario, so he’d be giving up Boston’s ability to pay him beyond cash. medium level in the future. The Celtics would probably prefer to use their mid-tier money to have someone other than him advance as well.

The Celtics will have to buy the ball at its full cap for this year ($26.5 million). Then it will be a fascinating choice for Horford. Is he looking to maximize his salary as he did in his last contract with Philadelphia? Or is he ready to accept a friendly agreement with the team to stay in Boston?

Explain Kornet’s multi-year agreement. Why so early and so long? This locks in a spot on the development roster and is a tax hit because it’s not 1 year old. I would much rather see one of the Summer Celts get that spot. Was there really competition for his services?

He’s only guaranteed for $100,000 per league source, but that goes up to $1 million if he makes the opening night roster. From that perspective, Kornet will have to make the team in training camp in order to see a significant portion of his salary for this year. It’s basically a training camp deal with a little extra financial incentive to do it in Boston. Unless better competition arrives, he has the inside lane on one of the bottom four spots on Boston’s roster at the moment.

The Celtics need a backup center who do you think they will get. —Archie

Why didn’t they sign a backup center for Rob? —Tim K.

They are always looking for at least one more. Signing Kabengele back and forth gives them extra insurance in the frontcourt and adding one more to the 15-man roster seems like a requirement. With most good teams down to the bare minimum of veterans to provide experienced centers, I think a lot of players and teams are waiting for potential opportunities before committing. The Celtics could try to bring in a big cheap they still love from overseas (see: Daniel Theis, Vincent Poirier) who they think could help or hope they can land someone in the veteran market for little money. We’ll have a full breakdown of the possibilities next week, but I’m intrigued by a guy like Zeller if he’s back healthy. However, he could seek a bigger role elsewhere.

I know they want depth but do you think they will still move a guard? Maybe Derrick White because he now feels like an expensive 3rd guard whose skills now seem repetitive. Maybe we could get another athletic wing (Crowder, Morris sr, etc.) or maybe use it to chase someone like John Collins for our long-term Al replacement in fourth place. —Jason S.

White could possibly be considered a luxury from a financial point of view. For now, I think they’ll like having the extra depth in the backcourt to see what it all looks like together. Ime Udoka lacked the ability to mix and match the NBA Finals with the bench and that ultimately was part of the reason the Celtics fell. Now Udoka has that luxury and a variety of options at point guard so he doesn’t have to rely so much on Marcus Smart or Jaylen Brown for long minutes every night and still secures wins. . White could possibly be moved as the main trading token for a bigger fish, but moving it for an aging wing like Crowder or Morris does nothing for this group in my opinion.

Hey Brian – if the Jazz completely dismantle as it looks like they intend to do, what do you think of Rudy Gay as the veteran we need on the bench? I think he would fit into Juancho’s trade exception and Danny might just want to lose the salary of a 2nd round pick or 2. Thanks! Mike

The 35-year-old could certainly be bought on the cheap after falling out of Utah’s rotation in the final two months of last season. Gay picked up a $6.4 million player option for next year, so Utah would certainly be eager to move him if they went into full rebuild mode. However, it’s fair to wonder right now how much Gay has left in the tank. He hit a career low of 41.4% from the field last year and he’s never been known for his defense. The Celtics could use another wing, but ideally it’s one that can also defend a bit and that’s something Gay won’t be able to do reliably at this stage of his career. Given that Boston has already landed a pair of offensive additions in Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari this offseason, I’d be surprised if they’re willing to give up an asset and accept another $6 million contract for a guy who doesn’t can’t even win minutes every night. That said, Ime Udoka has likely had a relationship with him since his San Antonio days, so if Gay finds himself bought out by Utah, he’d make a lot of sense on a minimum deal.

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