The Celtics met with Greg Oden in Waltham a few weeks back, as the former NBA center who hasn’t played in the league in over two years considers his options for NBA teams. Now there’s a new report from Shaun Powell, a former reporter from NBA.com who’s very “plugged in” over what teams Oden is still considering. Boston is still on the list.
Agent Mike Conley says Greg Oden will not decide on his next team until July. Cavs, Heat and Celtics in running.
— Shaun Powell (@Powell2daPeople) February 27, 2013
The fact Oden is going to wait until the free agent period this summer is very interesting, but makes sense. There was some speculation he’d sign with a team now to help himself get acclimated for next year, but upon further reflection, it’s clear no team he was seriously interested in could afford sacrificing a roster spot for him this season (the C’s certainly couldn’t).
So what kind of money would the Celtics be able to offer Oden in a contract this summer?Probably not much more than the veteran’s minimum to be perfectly honest. Unless Danny Ainge does some serious wheeling and dealing to clear some cap space, the C’s will be well over the salary cap and could already be approaching the luxury tax with nearly every rotation player on the roster already signed for next season, short of Chris Wilcox.
The Celtics will either have the mid-level exception at five million dollars, or the mini mid-level (3 million dollars) depending on who they decide to keep around before the free agency period. There’s also a five million dollar buyout option for Paul Pierce that needs to be exercised in June, but the way he’s playing right now, I highly doubt Ainge would just let him walk to save cash and clear cap space, as he’s still playing some of the best ball of his career right now.
Put it all together, and unless it’s for the veteran’s minimum or bi-annual exception (1.9 million), I highly doubt we see the Celtics sign Oden next year for anything more than that. They can’t afford to give much more to a player with such a high injury risk with so little money to use in free agency next year.