Undermanned and over the luxury tax line, the Celtics do not have many options as the trade deadline approaches. They had won eight of their last nine games entering Tuesday, but season-ending injuries to three key players have created the need for the Celtics to shake up their roster somehow.
One option could be dumping salary sometime before Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. Separate reports suggested the Celtics could deal Jason Terry or waive Leandro Barbosa to get below the luxury tax line. A move like those might be the most likely avenue for the Celtics after Danny Ainge said Tuesday that the team was unlikely to swing a major deal.
Staying below the luxury tax line is very important to most teams now that the penalty will increase next season from the current dollar-for-dollar tax to a graduated tax. Any team that remains above the tax line the following season would be subject to the same graduated tax as well as a “repeater” penalty.
The Celtics are currently less than $2 million over the tax line. Terry makes $5 million this season and has two years remaining on his contract. Barbosa makes the veteran’s minimum of $1.2 million, but the Celtics only pay about $854,ooo of that. The league pays the rest.