Mailbag: Still sorting out the pieces

ORLANDO, Florida -- The Boston Celtics enjoyed an off-day on Tuesday at Summer League. With no team access, we were forced to choose between spending the day at Disney World and opening your letters.

Luckily, there's time for both. Excuse any typos; do you know how hard it is to type on Space Mountain?

Q: Can you explain how the Celtics can use the $10.3 million trade exemption set to expire this week? Give us an example of what can be done. -- @tomconnolly24 (via Twitter)

A: The Celtics don't have the available cap space to sign free agents outright, so the only way to add talent above a minimum contract is to use available assets and exceptions (read THIS). One of those assets is a $10.3 million trade exception that was created as part of this past summer's swap with the Brooklyn Nets (teams can structure trades in ways such that exceptions are generated based on uneven amounts of salaries being exchanged). Trade exceptions expire one year from the date of the trade -- and most meet a fireworks-free demise.

The Celtics obviously are exploring all avenues, with the primary goal almost certainly being to land an impact player. Boston can offer a team immediate salary cap relief (and maybe sweeten the pot with draft picks) if a trade partner were willing to move a skilled player with a big-ticket salary. That could include free agents via a sign-and-trade agreement.

But let's say Boston strikes out hunting for a big fish. The exception can be split. The Celtics could target, say, free-agent big man Jordan Hill by engaging the Los Angeles Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal -- the Lakers ought to be intrigued about moving any asset that would allow them to add future talent, particularly if they land Carmelo Anthony and further clog up their cap.

If all else fails and Boston believes that next season will be heavy on development, the Celtics could look to take on an expiring salary in exchange for, say, a draft pick or any sort of asset that will live on beyond the week.

[Read full Celtics Mailbag]