Marcus Morris’ name has been suggested by many as the man most likely to be the fall guy, should Boston executives decide remaining below the luxury tax is a priority for the coming season.
The 28-year-old has a year remaining on his $5.4m expiring contract and, after an inconsistent season playing for coach Brad Stevens, could find himself involved in discussions over a possible departure.
Writing for Boston fansite Hardwood Houdini, NBA scribe Eddie Masciari claimed the former Detroit Piston’s exit would be the most advantageous eventuality for the Eastern Conference outfit.
He said: “Dealing Morris wouldn’t just be advantageous for the Celtics on the court, but it would also be a smart move off the court, as the team is currently set to be over the luxury tax threshold.
“In a scenario where Morris is dealt, the Celtics would receive a second-round pick or two while not taking back any salary.
“The forward is set to make just over $5 million next season.
“At the end of the day, the Celtics are built to make another deep playoff run and to challenge the Warriors for the title, with or without Morris on the roster.
“If kept beyond the NBA trade deadline in February of 2019, it would be very unlikely that Morris would be re-signed after the season.”
Power forward Morris played 54 games for the Celtics last year, averaging 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in 26.8 minutes of on-court action.
However, some Celtics fans appear to back the idea of letting the Philadelphia native walk, with one writing on social media site Reddit: “I agree. He is best used as a player who can destroy second units.
“A lot of iso ball. I don’t think we will need that next season with having multiple players who can get their shots already: Kyrie [Irving], [Terry] Rozier, Jaylen [Brown], Jayson [Tatum], [Gordon] Hayward, [Al] Horford.”
But another said: “Why the hell do you want to weaken our beast bench?
“It’s basically the only advantage we have against the Warriors.”