Following the Courtney Lee-Jerryd Bayless swap, the Boston Celtics will be committed to roughly $44 million in salary for next season (not including qualifying option for soon-to-be restricted free agents Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford). A glance at Boston's current salary commitment for next season:
Rajon Rondo: $12.9 million
Gerald Wallace: $10.1 million
Jeff Green: $9.2 million
Brandon Bass: $6.9 million
Keith Bogans: $5.3 million
Avery Bradley: $3.6 million (qualifying offer)
Jordan Crawford: $3.2 million (qualifying offer)
Vitor Faverani: $2 million
Kelly Olynyk: $2 million
Jared Sullinger: $1.4 million
Phil Pressey: $816,482
Total salary commitment: $44 million ($50.8 million with QOs)
Keep in mind that neither Bogans nor Pressey are guaranteed (though the latter is likely to stick around as a low-cost backup with development potential). Bogans' salary can either be shed completely for more cap flexibility, or used in a trade to acquire established talent.
With 1 ½ months until the trade deadline, what's next for Boston? The biggest remaining cap clog is Wallace, who has two years and $20.2 million remaining on his deal. It won't be easy to move, but the Celtics could seemingly entice another team by offering up a draft pick (nine first-rounders over the next five years). We've already heard Bass' name floated in the Omer Asik rumors last month, which suggests Boston is willing to move the final year of his deal (particularly with younger, more cost-efficient bodies in the frontcourt like Sullinger, Olynyk, and Faverani).
But Sunday's swap was the latest step in the quest for financial flexibility. Boston has assets (draft picks, trade exception, tradable non-guaranteed contract) and can accelerate this transition process with the right steps.
The usual disclaimer here: the Celtics still have a lot of work to do to put themselves in position to sign a big-money free agent. Keep in mind the salary cap for the 2013-14 season was $58.7 million. If the Celtics use some of their financial flexibility to re-sign Bradley, they are going to be back close to that number (and there's the lingering free agency of Rondo after next season to keep in mind). With pricy cap holds, Boston doesn't just have $14 million to spend next offseason.
But what Boston does have is flexibility given its moves since June. There's still work to be done, but the Celtics are moving in the right direction with the goal of accelerating this transition process.