Bradley and Isaiah Thomas – who wants a Brinks truck backed up – will be unrestricted free agents next summer. With Hayward and Al Horford already on new-TV-deal max contracts, keeping that core together would have been quite costly. Instead, Boston preemptively swapped Bradley for Marcus Morris, who’s locked into a relatively cheap deal for two more seasons.
Are the Celtics willing to pay the luxury tax?
Co-owner Steve Pagliuca, via Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald:
“I don’t know if it’s inevitable, but if we feel it’s going to help us win a championship, then we will,” he said. “We have a history of doing what we need to do to win.
“But you have to be careful — if you sign people to bad contracts, it’s going to preclude you from signing other players. But I’m very happy with how it’s gone.”
Nearly all owners say they’d pay the luxury tax for a winner. Fewer actually do it.
But Boston ownership has a proven track record, paying the tax every season from 2007-08 to 2012-13. In those six years, the Celtics won a title, reached two Finals and made the playoffs every year.
That was before the repeater tax came into effect, so maybe this ownership group – led by Wyc Grousbeck – won’t again approve exceeding the tax line for so many straight seasons. But with asset-rich Boston entering a lengthy period of contending, we’ll see. And we’ll see how high its payroll will get in any single year.
The Celtics have proven their willingness to pay the luxury tax. The open question is just how much of it.
But Thomas should hear a “beep, beep, beep” approaching.