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In move to save money, Celtics trade Vonleh to Spurs (who waive him)

Tom Haberstroh calls in to discuss the outbreak of massive scoring performances by NBA stars this season.

Some trades are blockbusters, while others are just about saving some money.

This one was the latter. The Celtics saved a few million dollars — and freed up a roster spot for a potential move down the line — by trading Noah Vonleh to the Spurs on Thursday. The Spurs got cash considerations and a second-round pick that likely will not convey (in a meaningful way).

The Spurs waived Gorgui Dieng to create the roster spot to make the trade, then waived Vonleh, too, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported. Vonleh is now a free agent.

Why did the Celtics do it? Vonleh was out of the rotation and removing his $1.2 million salary from the books will save the team $7 million once the luxury tax and its escalators are factored in, as Chris Forsberg at NBC Sports Boston noted.

Boston remains $23 million over the tax line with an estimated tax bill of $59 million. The Celtics will send cash to the Spurs to cover the cost of taking on Vonleh’s contract.

Boston also now has an open roster spot which could help facilitate a future trade. Not that one is likely, the Celtics are not taking on the expense of another player — especially once the tax penalty is figured in — for anything less than a player who can be a valuable part of the rotation in the playoffs. There are not many players out there and they are expensive. It’s possible Brad Stevens finds a deal he likes and makes a trade at the deadline, but more than likely what you see is what you get with the Celtics.