Writing for ESPN Insider, cap guru Larry Coon pegs the Boston Celtics in the "losers" category while judging how the new collective bargaining agreement affects teams for the upcoming season. A snippet:
Under the previous CBA, the Celtics were willing and able to spend; for example, they were taxpayers in each of the previous six seasons. But now that the progressive tax is kicking in, the team's spending habits are changing. Under the previous system, the Celtics might have tried to keep their nucleus together for at least one more season, adding players in order to stay competitive. Pierce probably would have retired a Celtic under the old system.
* Our take: Even under the new CBA, the Celtics would have been content to keep the band together and make another run with its nucleus intact. The way the dominoes fell, it simply made more sense to start the roster overhaul knowing that it was inevitable (and likely overdue after a first-round playoff exit). Before Doc Rivers' decision to depart started that plan into motion, ownership acknowledged a willingness to pay the tax, which would have further exposed the team to looming repeater penalties. As it is, Boston is still tip-toeing the tax line and has simply made an effort to stay below it given the competitive advantage it offers moving forward (when the team might return to contender status). Alas, sending away two of the team's top talents and preparing to endure a transition year will land Boston in the "loser" category despite the fact that the moves the team made could help it rebuild quicker than it might have otherwise. -- Chris Forsberg