SALT LAKE CITY – The Boston Celtics got their man when Gordon Hayward, courtesy of the Player’s Tribune, confirmed multiple reports earlier in the day that he would in fact sign a four-year contract with the Celtics worth more than $127 million with a player option after the third season.
But before folks get too carried away, there’s a bit – make that quite a bit – of roster cleansing the Celtics must first do in order to make sure they have enough salary cap space to sign the 27-year-old Hayward.
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One of the first moves Boston will make official most likely within the next 24 hours, is pulling back its qualifying offer to Kelly Olynyk and thus make the 7-footer an unrestricted free agent as one of several steps to clear enough cap room for the Hayward signing.
That will soon be followed by the Celtics rescinding their rights to all of their current free agents, with Jordan Mickey and Demetrius Jackson – both on partially guaranteed contracts – being waived.
If only the salary cap came in closer to the projected $101-102 million amount, than the $99 million mark the league’s bean counters arrived at once the season was complete.
But because of the $2-3 million shortfall, Boston has to make at least one more move in order to ensure they have enough cap space to sign Hayward.
That means they have to clear at least one more contract off the books, with Terry Rozier or Marcus Smart the most likely players to be moved.
One alternative besides that would be for Hayward to take slightly less than a full max-salary, but it’s unclear if that’s an option he or the Celtics have discussed.
The bottom line is for the second year in a row, the Celtics add a significant free agent to the fold which only increases their chances of making an even deeper player run than we saw last season and just as important, move one step closer towards Banner 18.