The deal wasn't a huge surprise. Melo has been an underwhelming player since being drafted 22nd overall in the 2012 NBA draft by Boston, and the Celtics desperately need to free up spots on a bloated roster.
Melo managed to play in only six games last season, despite the Celtics suffering from numerous injuries in the second half of the season as well as a deficiency of big bodies to defend the paint. Considering that clogging the lane, blocking shots and being a force in the post is really what Melo is supposed to bring to the table, his absence from the roster last year really says a lot about what former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers thought of him.
In return for Fab Melo and cash considerations, the Celtics received Donte Green, a swing forward who has played all of his NBA career for the Sacramento Kings. Green spent the 2012-2013 season playing for Atléticos de San Germán, a professional team in Puerto Rico. Green joins a Celtics roster that already has seven players -- Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, rookie Vitor Faverani, Kris Humphries, Jared Sullinger and Gerald Wallace -- who can play the power forward position.
Given Green's history of mediocre basketball, why did the Celtics make the deal?
The real reason behind the Fab Melo deal
As a young player still in his draft-day contract, Fab Melo is guaranteed the money promised to him, $1.3 million for the 2013-2014 season. As ESPN's Chris Forsberg tweeted yesterday, however, Donte Green has a non-guaranteed contract, meaning Boston can cut him without taking a big salary-cap hit. The reason this move is a good one for the Celtics is not because it saves them $1 million over one season; it's because the Celtics are still over the dreaded NBA luxury tax limit and are desperately trying to find ways to avoid paying the additional dollars for a team that is likely not going to be competing for a championship next season.
As part of the collective bargaining agreement struck by the NBA Basketball Player's Association and NBA commissioner David Stern in 2011, a new and more damaging luxury tax system goes into place this year, increasing taxes to $1.50 for every dollar spent over the luxury tax threshold. This effectively means that if the Celtics are $2 million over the luxury tax limit, they will end up paying $3 million in taxes just for that privilege.
The Celtics were one of only six teams that were required to pay luxury taxes last season, along with the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Chicago Bulls. Unlike all of those teams, Boston is likely not going to be competing for a championship next season, so you should expect to see the Celtics continue to make moves that shed unwanted contracts from the roster.
Don't agree with me? Tell me why I am wrong on Twitter @TheNewRevere or by e-mail at THATcelticsguy@gmail.com.
Justin Haskins is a New England native and a freelance journalist. He has been obsessively following Boston professional sports for 10 years and has been published in numerous online publications and websites.
- Sports & Recreation
- Fab Melo
- Donte Green
- Boston Celtics