Celtics

Can Tacko Fall make the Celtics' final roster?

Can Tacko Fall make the Celtics' final roster?

Can Tacko Fall find a way onto the Boston Celtics’ roster for the 2019-20 season? Not without some additional maneuvering by Boston to clear a spot.

The Celtics are still processing their offseason signings and haven’t yet inked their four draft picks. But once that is all processed, the team projects to have a full roster of 17 players, including a pair of two-way contracts.

Here’s the expected breakdown:

Returning players (9)
Marcus Smart, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Semi Ojeleye, Daniel Theis, Robert Williams, Guerschon Yabusele, Brad Wanamaker

Offseason signings (3)
Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter, Vincent Poirier

Unsigned draftees (3)
Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Carsen Edwards

Two-way slots (2)
Max Strus, Tremont Waters

Once the free-agent signings are official, the Celtics can ink Langford and Williams to their rookie scale deals. There will be just enough cap space leftover to sign Edwards to a multi-year pact. 

The lingering questions are: Can Tremont Waters make a case for a roster spot at summer league, or is he content to be a two-way player after being drafted with the 51st pick last month? If so, he would fill the team’s other two-way slot alongside Strus, who reportedly agreed to a two-way pact after going undrafted.

Fall, the 7-foot-7 big man who has taken over Vegas Summer League, is playing on an Exhibit 10 contract. He’ll collect a $50,000 bonus if he’s among Boston’s final cuts at training camp and is funneled to the team’s G-League squad in Maine as an affiliated player.

Alas, that won't prevent any team from swooping in and signing Fall, whether that’s now or further down the road. In order to protect that asset, the Celtics would need to sign Fall to a roster spot (even if it’s just one of the two-way slots).

That would require another move. With third-year big man Guerschon Yabusele struggling to assert himself in the infancy of summer league this year, most fans would prefer to see the team utilize that roster spot for Fall. Yabusele, however, holds some value as a tradable asset deeper into the season and might be harder to move now — at least without having to eat the money on his deal or give up something in return to clear that spot.

Ultimately, the Celtics’ hand will be forced by two things: outside interest in Fall around the league, and their willingness to expend the time and energy that will be required to develop Fall. The potential is undoubtedly tantalizing and he’s looked more comfortable than expected at summer league, but he’s still a project big man. 

For now, the Celtics can revel in the way crowds cheer each time he heads to the scorer’s table (and boo lustily when he’s fetched from the court). Call him Tacko Summer, because, with Zion Williamson’s participation done in Vegas, Fall might be the biggest attraction.

Celtics fans are hopeful this act gets an extended run in the northeast this fall.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST: LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE >>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Nicolas Batum on Celtics center Vincent Poirier: "It's a good pick-up for Boston for sure"

Nicolas Batum on Celtics center Vincent Poirier: "It's a good pick-up for Boston for sure"

Team USA didn't finish the FIBA World Cup as expected, but there were plenty of positives to take away from the tournament if you're a Celtics fan. 

Not only did Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart contribute to Team USA and certainly took some lessons from playing under Gregg Popovich, but Daniel Theis (Germany) and newly signed Vincent Poirier (France) got invaluable experience they can carry into the 2019-20 NBA season. 

Poirier signed with the Celtics during free agency on a two-year contract and should have plenty of opportunities to earn playing time in a Celtics' frontcourt that hopes to replace Al Horford and Aron Baynes. 

Poirier's French teammate Nicolas Batum, who played with Walker in Charlotte over the last four years, dealt out some praise of the rookie center after France beat Australia for the FIBA bronze medal. 

"This guy, I think, just started basketball 5 years ago, so he's had a special career," Batum told John Schumann. "His energy was great. We can't count on Rudy (Gobert) every game... He was huge. He wasn't scared by Bogut & Baynes... He was amazing tonight."

France knocked the U.S. out of the knockout round by besting them in the quarterfinals. Poirier didn't play in that game, but has played a big role for France behind All-Star big man Rudy Gobert. 

"It's clear that he's a center that can block shots and control the paint," Batum said. "He's a terrific roller, can really catch a lob, and obviously has a lot of energy. It's a good pick-up for Boston, for sure."

The Celtics responded to Horford's departure and trading Baynes to Phoneix by signing Poirier and Enes Kanter to join Theis and Robert Williams at the center spot. Boston will probably have to solve their hole at that position by committee, but if Poirier can play consistent defense, rebound and protect the paint as Batum describes, he could earn himself backup minutes behind Kanter. 

Either way, it should be an interesting training camp to say the least for this new-look Celtics team. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

One lesson each Celtics player can take away from World Cup

celtics-fiba.jpg
File photos

One lesson each Celtics player can take away from World Cup

Team Shamrock’s FIBA adventures ended with a whimper Saturday as — under the cloak of East Coast darkness — three of the four Celtics on Team USA logged DNPs (eight points for Jaylen Brown) while the Americans claimed seventh place with an 87-74 win over Poland. Combine that with the fact that Daniel Theis got limited reps with Germany’s early exit and Daniel Poirier hasn’t played big minutes while backing up Rudy Gobert for France and the World Cup experience wasn’t quite as robust as it could have been for the six Celtics players involved.

Still, there were positives to pluck and experiences gained by everyone involved, not the least of which is that a third of Boston’s roster will show up to camp on Oct. 1 in game-ready shape. Still, regardless of Team USA’s medal-less finish and the limited reps for Theis and Poirier, there’s at least one item or lesson that every player can bring with them into the new season.