Celtics generate roster spot, save cash by moving Noah Vonleh

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Forsberg: C's generate roster spot, save cash by moving Vonleh originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics generated roster flexibility and trimmed from their hefty luxury tax bill by reportedly dealing big man Noah Vonleh to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.

All NBA contracts become guaranteed on January 10. By dealing Vonleh ahead of that deadline instead of simply waiving him, the Celtics remove his $1.2 million salary, which would have counted as roughly $7 million based on tax escalators.

Forsberg: Celtics need to redefine identity after embarrassing loss

Boston remains $23 million over the tax line with an estimated tax bill of $59 million. The Celtics will send cash to the Spurs to cover the cost of taking on Vonleh’s contract.

Boston now has an open roster in advance of any potential maneuvering at the trade deadline or on the buyout market. Justin Jackson remains on a fully nonguaranteed deal, while Luke Kornet has a partial guarantee.

Vonleh, with Massachusetts roots, was a feel-good story after earning a roster spot out of training camp. With Robert Williams III rehabbing from offseason knee surgery and Luke Kornet sidelined with an ankle sprain to start the season, Vonleh played an unexpectedly big role including starting a game.

The return of Williams III, a healthy Kornet, and the addition of Blake Griffin made it unlikely that Vonleh would see much time moving forward. The Celtics can always lean heavier on two-way player Mfiondu Kabengele for emergency depth.

The Celtics made a similar January shuffle by dealing Juancho Hernangomez to the Spurs last season. Boston has until January 19 to use the $6.9 million exception generated in that swap though the team’s tax situation makes any salary addition seem unlikely, unless that player can be a surefire contributor to a team with title hopes.