UPDATE: The Herald is reporting that Davis will sign a two-year deal worth $6.3 million, apparently without a team option for a third year—thereby allowing Baby to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2011 season. That’s a fair deal for both sides, and a good signing from Ainge, who gauged the NBA landscape correctly and got Davis for less than some anticipated.
If the C’s indeed sign Big Baby to a deal worth between $2 and $3 million per season, that gives the C’s 14 players guaranteed money for 2009-2010.
The starting five: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins
Nine off the bench: Eddie House, Brian Scalabrine, Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker, Marquis Daniels, Shelden Williams, Tony Allen
Let’s talk money first. The total salary bill for those players, with data from ShamSports and assuming a salary of $2.5 million for Davis and the $1.9 million bi-annual exception for Daniels: $83,929,641.
Next year’s luxury tax line: $69.9 million
Total luxury tax bill for Boston: $14,029,641 * 2 = $28,059,282
So the C’s payroll plus luxury tax comes to this: $97,059,282***
Yowza. That is a lot of money for a collection of basketball players.
Onto the basketball roster issues. This collection of players leaves exactly one roster spot open, presumably for Lester Hudson or another back-up point guard. Unless the C’s lose a player in a Daniels sign-and-trade, my bet is that Hudson will be waived in favor of a veteran back-up PG. The unexpected signing of Williams has me guessing the C’s anticipate dealing for Daniels instead of signing him outright. Most teams are not going to carry the maximum 15 active players in order to save money and preserve financial flexibility. So Hudson may be out regardless of how Daniels finally comes to Boston.
In any case, this is essentially the roster. On paper, this is a far better team than last year’s team. Leon Powe, Glen Davis and Mikki Moore have morphed into Rasheed Wallace, Shelden Williams and a Glen Davis returned to his proper role as a reserve. Williams is here to try and do what Moore couldn’t–set screens, bump into Dwight Howard, Marcin Gortat, Andy Varejao, Gasol/Bynum and Shaq, and try (and likely fail) to defend the screen/roll.
And the 6’6” Daniels, of course, will be asked to do what Tony Allen couldn’t: Fill in reliably for Pierce and, at times, Ray Allen—and perhaps even handle the spot back-up PG duty that previously went to the now-unwanted vasoline-eating Stephon Marbury.
Give the front office credit: They have done everything possible to assemble a championship-level team. Now it’s up to the coaches, players and the Medical Gods who control Kevin Garnett’s right knee.
**Note/Correction: An earlier version of this post accidentally added an extra $14 million to this figure; we corrected it within 15 or 20 minutes. We apologize for the mistake.