As president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reaffirmed on Thursday, the team will remain under the luxury tax this season as it navigates the first year of a transition process. The Celtics have 14 guaranteed contracts for a total salary commitment of approximately $71.2 million (and it jumps to $71.6 million for tax purposes). The luxury tax line this season is $71.75 million.
"Right now we’re barely under the luxury tax, so we really have no choice," said Ainge. "We will stay under the tax this year. We have to. As we’re rebuilding, not just from a standpoint of the financial budget, but as a competitive advantage."
By staying under the tax this season, the Celtics will put themselves in position to collect the rebate that non-taxpaying teams reap (splitting a portion of the money spent by taxpayers). When you consider the bloated bill the Nets alone will pay this season, it's a good season to be below the tax. Staying under the tax can also help Boston avoid repeater penalties moving forward.
Bell-Holter, Sims and Taylor left the team earlier this week with their fate sealed. Babb stuck around through Friday's practice and felt he opened some doors for himself by spending the past month with the Celtics.
"It’s a dream I’ve always had to compete at the highest level. It’s the NBA," said Babb. "To be here, I think I've turned a lot of heads. People like me a lot more now than when I first came here. I think that’s the big thing."
Babb said the players on Boston's roster treated him and the other rookies well.
"These guys are pretty good. I’ve heard a lot worse stories," said Babb. "Just little stuff -- just making sure there’s soap on every road trip. I had to go to the store and get jelly before practice. My chore is to carry Kris Humphries’ dinner to the plane after every road trip, make sure it gets from point A to point B, that’s my job."
Babb and the rest of the released invites must now examine their futures. As many as three of the team's final camp cuts can be assigned to the Maine Red Claws of the D-League as affiliated players. But players must weigh better financial offers overseas before deciding whether it's more beneficial to stay stateside.