Tommy's happy the lockout is over
Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump
– The mid-level exception for non-taxpaying teams will have a maximum length of four years every season (instead of alternating at four years, then three years). Starting salary can be as much as $5 million.
– There apparently will be a “mini” MLE for taxpaying teams, restricting the amount they can offer to free agents.
That's the key to this deal for the Celtics. Well, that and what the luxury tax system will look like.
So let's start from the top: Here's how the C's roster looks, according to ShamSports:
The Sheed number is just a salary cap remnant. The C's look like they're under the luxury tax threshold, but they have cap holds for JaJuan Johnson (his rookie wage scale. E'Twaun Moore is not guaranteed to be signed), Glen Davis and Jeff Green.
Now comes the confusing part… and the difficulty of trying to analyze the impact of deal without having seen all the details.
The C's do not pay the tax as currently constituted, but they in all likelihood will by the time everyone is signed. The question becomes, do they have the "mini mid-level" because they will be a tax payer… or do they get the full mid-level because they're not a tax payer at the moment.
I'm going to assume it's the mini mid-level (that's going to be fun to write for 6 years). That means the C's will have even less maneuverability when it comes to bringing help in from the outside. Which means we should be prepared for a team that looks a lot like last year's team. The Celtics will have to push to bring Glen Davis back and they'll have to try to sign Jeff Green. I'd expect them to look at Delonte coming back as well. From there, it'll be a scrap-heap big-man as "insurance" for Jermaine O'Neal.
I know, not what you want to hear, but it's the reality of the situation. And don't expect a shorter, 66 game schedule to help, either.
This schedule will be packed with back-to-back games… and maybe even some back-to-back-to-back games. That is a big disadvantage for the Celtics. I would expect KG and Jermaine O'Neal to sit in the third game of those stretches and maybe even the back end of those back-to-backs from time to time. The Celtics will sacrifice games in this regular season in an effort to be ready, and healthy, for the post-season.
Don't forget, training camp is supposed to start on December 9. That's less than two weeks. The NBA season begins in 4 weeks. Guys are going from zero to balls-out in a matter of weeks. And don't pretend that those barnstorming tours got guys into playing shape. One game a week at half speed isn't getting you ready for anything.
The Celtics have to be extra careful about injuries. Don't expect a fast start out this group at all because guys will not be pushed to any extremes until they're ready. Again, I'm looking at KG and Jermaine O'Neal and keeping them healthy. Four weeks is not going to be enough time to get these guys in full game shape. So I'd expect their minutes to be more limited than usual until January.
So in the end, we're looking at a very similar team as last year with a schedule that doesn't really favor them much. We'll have to accept some losses for what we hope is the sake of the team's chances in the long term. We'll be looking at 3rd or 4th seed… which will be OK if we're healthy. That's the only goal in all of this. It's been the goal the past few years, but there's an added emphasis on it now.
Just know that going in. This flight is going to be full of turbulence. We just want to get through it so we can get to where we need to be.
The rest of the links: