Celtics Roster Reset: Examining Boston’s Options Entering Free Agency

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NBA free agency officially opens at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, with all sorts of rumors, speculation and signings sure to follow.

But before the NBA world loses its collective mind, let’s take a minute to examine the Boston Celtics’ roster as it’s currently constructed.

Keep in mind this is not — we repeat: is not — a projection of what the opening night roster will look like, since there is a very strong chance some of these players will be playing elsewhere come fall. That’s a necessity, in fact, as an NBA team only is allowed to carry 15 players on its roster.

So, let’s dive in.

The Starters
Marcus Smart
Avery Bradley
Evan Turner
Jared Sullinger
Tyler Zeller

The very, very early projected starting lineup is similar to the one the Celtics employed late last season, with Sullinger replacing free agent-to-be Brandon Bass. (More on him later.) Any sort of notable offseason acquisition could shake up this crew, however, as none of the five are locked in as definite opening night starters.

The Bench
Isaiah Thomas
Kelly Olynyk
James Young
Phil Pressey
Gerald Wallace
Chris Babb

Thomas is a roster lock. Wallace likely is, too, if only because the Celtics are unable to find a team to take on his contract. Olynyk, like Sullinger, was mentioned in trade rumors ahead of the draft, and those likely will continue through the offseason for both players. The fight for playing time between Young and rookie R.J. Hunter will be intriguing to watch this summer. Babb likely is headed back to the D-League if he is not traded or let go, and Pressey will have his work cut out for him if he hopes to find minutes in Boston’s jam-packed backcourt.

The Rookies
Terry Rozier
R.J. Hunter
Jordan Mickey
Marcus Thornton

Spots for the Celtics’ four draft picks are difficult to project, as they have yet to even begin summer league. The aforementioned Hunter-Young battle should be fun to watch, as should the one between Rozier and Smart, who possess very similar skill sets. The athletic Mickey adds an extra element to Boston’s frontcourt, while Thornton will need to knock Danny Ainge’s socks off this summer to avoid a D-League or overseas assignment.

The Free Agents
Brandon Bass
Jae Crowder
Luigi Datome
Jonas Jerebko

The Celtics have extended a qualifying offer to Crowder, whom they’d certainly like to bring back. Jerebko is another possibility if they can sign him for the right price. Bass and Datome likely are gone.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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