Will the Celtics provide a lifeline?
Jordan Schultz of ESPN (hat tip: Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston):
#Celtics have offered Dennis Schroder a one-year deal – at the taxpayer $5.9M MLE – per league sources. The current hold up for Schroder is twofold: He wants the full MLE – which is $9.5M – and also seeks a second-year player option. Boston doesn’t want to be hard-capped.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) August 10, 2021
Spending more than the $5.89 million taxpayer mid-level exception would hard-cap the Celtics.
However, using the full $9.536 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception would push them over the hard cap ($143.002 million).
Even if Boston cleared other salary to fit Schroder under the hard cap, paying Schroder so much would also make it more difficult to get under the luxury-tax line ($136.606 million). The Celtics might be willing to pay the tax this season, but they might want a path to avoid it before its assessed the final day of the regular season.
Boston could probably convince Schroder to forgo the player option. He clearly believes in himself would be planning to decline it, anyway.
However, re-signing him in 2022 free agency would be tricky. The Celtics could offer just 120% of his prior salary through the Non-Bird Exception. If he thrives on a make-good contract, Schroder would be seeking far more.
Whatever’s instore beyond matters only so much.
Thinking long-term at guard, Boston is also offering Marcus Smart a contract extension.
Celtics await a response from Smart agent Jason Glushon, but are said to be willing to extend him for roughly $17M over four years.
Smart’s largest-allowable extension is $77,087,996 over four years.
It’s impossible to fully evaluate the Celtics’ offer without knowing details, especially how much of the deal would be guaranteed. But a $17 million salary seems about fair for the 27-year-old.
Boston would lock in a good player and, on that salary, potentially helpful trade chip.
Could Smart get more in 2022 free agency? Very possibly. But he probably wouldn’t get much more and could get significantly less. There’s value in securing the money now.