The Boston Celtics are set to enter training camp with a full 15-man roster, but some flexibility could promote competition at the back end of the roster.
Jabari Parker’s salary is only $100,000 guaranteed until the first regular-season game of the season. That gives the team a pathway to creating a roster spot if Parker, who signed with the team in mid-April last season, doesn’t distinguish himself among the team’s collection of power forwards/small-ball centers. Boston could also eat a smaller contract, but the team’s tax status makes that unlikely.
Boston also has one two-way slot open (Sam Hauser already signed to the other), which creates another avenue for training camp invites to potentially latch on with the team for the 2021-22 season.
Beyond the players already signed, Boston will bring Juwan Morgan, Luke Kornet, and Theo Pinson to camp. The Celtics reportedly inked former Bulls guard Ryan Arcidiacono to a camp invite Thursday to reach the 20-man camp roster limit.
Given that the big wing/power forward spot appears to be Boston’s biggest area of need, it feels like Parker’s chances of sticking on the roster are fairly high. The former No. 2 pick still has plenty of untapped potential and a summer in the team’s ecosystem could aid his cause to stick on the roster.
What are the chances one of the roster hopefuls secures a spot?
The 26-year-old, floor-stretching center appeared in 18 games for Boston after being acquired as part of Boston’s trade deadline maneuvering last season. Entering his fifth NBA campaign, Kornet is not eligible for a two-way spot and, thus, would need to beat out Parker and Co. for the final spot on the 15-man roster. Conspiring against Kornet is a well-stocked frontcourt with Robert Williams, Enes Kanter, Al Horford, and Bruno Fernando on the depth chart.
Morgan is an intriguing two-way option with solid size (6-7, 232 pounds) and experience. Not only has he appeared in 50 games for Utah the past two seasons, he started two playoff games for the Jazz inside the bubble. Morgan, a former college teammate of Romeo Langford at Indiana, is a physical forward who will hunt offensive rebounds and play solid defense. The Celtics would seemingly be well served to have a reliable option at the power forward spot as one of their two-way players.
Maybe best known as being an elite teammate, the energy-filled Pinson has spent the past three seasons with the Nets and Knicks. He’s got good size for a guard (6-5, 212) and showed the ability to score in the G-League (averaging 19.1 points per game while shooting 38.2 percent beyond the arc in 43 appearances). His willingness to lift up teammates and bring positive energy only helps his chances of being a two-way guy.
There’s a YouTube video titled “Ryan Arcidiacono is FEARLESS” in which Arcidiacono launches himself into the crowd multiple times chasing loose balls. There’s a highlight of him *missing* a game-winner because of how absurd it is that he even forced a turnover and ran through two guys to get up a last-second shot. He operates with a Marcus Smart-like desire to preserve possessions. The “Arch of Dimes” started 32 games for the Bulls in 2018-19 and has shot 37.3% beyond the arc for his four-year NBA career. Even if he’s a long shot to make Boston’s NBA roster, he’ll add some spice to training camp with his hustle and grit.
The Celtics likely kept that final two-way spot open knowing that some intriguing talent could land on the free-agent market as teams shape their rosters. Could another team’s glut at the wing or power forward position deliver a player that Boston might yearn to develop in Maine? An available two-way spot gives the Celtics a nice carrot to attract players with less than four years of NBA experience. Camp cuts can also latch onto G-League teams as affiliated players but don’t get the bounty of call-up days that two-way players enjoy. If the Celtics do any roster shuffling with invites during camp, it’s likely aimed at funneling them to Maine.