Boston Celtics

New amnesty rule hurts Celtics' flexibility

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New amnesty rule hurts Celtics' flexibility

WALTHAM Already armed with a reduced mid-level exception compared to the previous collective bargaining agreement, you can add the new amnesty rule to the factors that will make it tough for the Boston Celtics to significantly bolster their roster for the 2011-2012 season.

In the yet-to-be-ratified CBA between the players and owners, teams can waive any player currently under contract and not have that player's salary count against their salary cap.

The Celtics don't have any serious candidates to be waived under the amnesty provision. And teams with salary cap space -- the C's are not one of those teams -- get first crack at players who are released via amnesty, which is why Danny Ainge doesn't expect the luxury tax-paying Celtics to acquire any players this route.

But here's where it gets tough for the C's.

The teams that have the salary cap flexibility to add players via amnesty plan to wait patiently for those players to become available. The particulars regarding the amnesty rule are among the B-list items yet to be ironed out yet.

But with teams with cap space keeping close tabs on potential free agents via amnesty, some of the top free agents won't get deals done as quickly as they probably should, despite training camp being just a week from today.

And if the big names like Tyson Chandler, Nene and Jamal Crawford are still on the free agent market, the players that the C's hope will slide down to their price range, won't yet become available.

It puts the Celtics in an even longer holding pattern, well aware that their patience would be put to the test having just a "mini" mid-level exception worth 3 million and veteran minimum contracts.

So when Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, told reporters on Thursday that he "hoped" to have 10 players in camp by next Friday -- the first day of training camp and free agency -- he wasn't kidding.

"Every year is a challenge; brings different challenges," Ainge said. "We don't have the same flexibility this summer to do some of those things. There's a lot of money out there, teams with cap space. So players are waiting for the big pay days. We have to be patient in this process."

And the new amnesty rule doesn't help.

Brad Stevens: Isaiah Thomas will get scan on hip in September

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Brad Stevens: Isaiah Thomas will get scan on hip in September

Appearing on The Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix, Brad Stevens said that Isaiah Thomas’ hip will be evaluated by the Celtics in September before the team decides how to proceed. 

The C’s were unsure of whether Thomas would require surgery on his right hip, which ended his postseason early. He has gone the offseason without surgery, so the C’s will look at it next month. 

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September when he arrives back here out east, and from there we will know an exact timeline," Stevens said. "Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.

Added Stevens: “We want what’s best for Isaiah. We want to make sure that when he is ready to roll, which hopefully is sooner rather than later, that he is ready to roll at his highest level and for the longest possible time, obviously, right? So that’s a lot more important to me than anything else.” 

Stevens said that the uncertainty of not knowing whether Thomas would need surgery was challenging, but that his priority was the player. 

“I don’t know if it was unnerving because you can only control what you can control, but it’s a big deal for me because it’s a big deal to him,” he said. “Ultimately, obviously you want to go into every season 110 percent healthy and we’ll find out where we stand with everybody, but more so you want what’s best for him.”