They’re not holding a spot for him for next year.
Boston is declining Young’s $2,803,507 team option for 2017-18.
Bobby Marks of Yahoo Sports:
This seems like a bad bet by the Celtics.
There are two possibilities: Young remains a forgettable NBA player, or Young develops into a productive player.
The latter is more likely, and if that happens, Boston will be happy to have a few extra million in cap space next summer.
But if Young plays well, there isn’t much the Celtics can do to get value from him beyond this season.
He’ll be a restricted free agent when his contract expires, and his previous team can pay him a starting salary up to only $2,803,507. So, Boston would have a hard time re-signing him if he looks like even a rotation-worthy player on a bad team.
The Celtics would also have tough time trading him if he becomes a decent player, because – barring a Collective Bargaining Agreement change – his new team could offer just $2,803,507 starting to re-sign him this offseason. Essentially, he’ll have either no value or value only as a rental.
Boston will have so much cap flexibility next summer, waiving Young would barely make a dent – especially if he’s stretched. But to avoid the possibility of that small inconvenience, the Celtics are forgoing the possibility of a far bigger upside.
Young is unlikely to play well enough to make Boston pay. But he’s talented, and 21-year-olds are unpredictable.
If I were the Celtics, I would’ve exercised the option – even if it’s unlikely to pay off. The potential reward outweighs the risk.