C's extend qualifying offers to Fall, Waters; Reportedly pick up Ojeleye option originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
It's been a busy Thursday for the Boston Celtics.
Veteran forward Gordon Hayward reportedly declined his $34.2 million player option for the 2020-21 NBA season, giving him the ability to hit the free agent market. He also could return to Boston with a new contract or be included in a sign-and-trade.
The Celtics also announced they have extended qualifying offers to Tremont Waters and Tacko Fall.
Waters was a second-round pick (51st overall) of Boston in 2019 and spent most of last season with the G-League's Maine Red Claws. The 21-year-old point guard averaged 18 points, 7.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 36 games for the Red Claws, earning him the G-League Rookie of the Year award. He also appeared in 10 games for Boston and averaged 3.3 points and 1.2 assists in 8.9 minutes per game.
The Celtics reportedly declined a qualifying offer to veteran guard Brad Wanamaker by Thursday's deadline. If Wanamaker doesn't return as a free agent, the C's would need someone to fill the backup point guard role, and Waters could be among the players competing for that spot.
Fall averaged 12.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in 29 games for the Red Claws. The 7-foot-6 center quickly became a fan favorite in Boston, too, where he made seven appearances and averaged 3.3 points per game.
The Celtics also picked up forward Semi Ojeleye's team option, per ESPN's Tim Bontemps.
The Celtics have picked up Semi Ojeleye's team option for the 2020-21 season, league sources tell ESPN. Ojeleye's contract for next season remains non guaranteed until Saturday, when it becomes a fully guaranteed $1.75 million.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) November 19, 2020
Ojeyele having his team option picked doesn't mean he will start the season with the Celtics, though, as The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach explains:
Per sources, Semi Ojeleye's status could be affected by Hayward situation and other potential deals but as of now it's appearing unlikely that he will be with the Celtics beyond Saturday's guarantee date.
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) November 19, 2020
Ojeyele was a second-round pick (37th overall) of the Celtics in 2017 and has given the team some quality defense off the bench. He hasn't made much of an impact offensively, though, averaging just 3.1 points per game over three seasons. If Ojeleye remains with the Celtics, he'll enter the final year of his rookie contract in 2020-21.