On Saturday, the Boston Celtics decided to waive little-used wing Abdel Nader, opting to eat the $450 of the partially guaranteed contract he would carry into next season.
Two days later, however, the Celtics appear to have found a suitor to take on Nader’s salary, saving the Celtics a small amount of cap space. Per the Celtics, Nader has been dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Rodney Purvis.
We have traded forward Abdel Nader and cash considerations to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for guard Rodney Purvis.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 24, 2018
Purvis was a 24-year-old rookie guard last season for the Orlando Magic. He will almost certainly not play for the Celtics — by waiving Purvis’ non-guaranteed deal, the Celtics would save the cap hit of the guaranteed portion of Nader’s contract and come closer to avoiding the luxury tax. Purvis played in 16 games for Orlando last year, averaging 18.1 minutes per game.
Avoiding the tax will become a somewhat significant issue to watch as the summer drags on, since Boston would prefer to push the clock back on the repeater tax. Per Ryan Bernardoni, the Celtics are now roughly $2.5 million over the tax line.
The Celtics’ starting five will obviously be untouchable, as will the newly-signed Marcus Smart. Terry Rozier is too valuable to be moved in a deal simply to get below the tax line.
But players like Guerschon Yabusele and Marcus Morris might be on the table. Yabusele’s contract would get Boston just slightly below the $2.38 million necessary, while Marcus Morris’s $5 million contract — if dealt for a second-round pick — would clear space for a signing like Jabari Bird.
Neither player would be easy to give up. Yabusele was the 16th pick in the 2016 draft, while Morris gave the Celtics a lot of very valuable production both off the bench and as a starter last year. But Boston knows how expensive its roster will be in the next few years, and trimming money off the bill now could make a difference for an expensive title contender down the road.