The Boston Celtics seem to be settling up the team for the summer. After reportedly agreeing to terms with Gerald Green, the Celtics also reportedly locked up Tyler Zeller to a guaranteed two-year deal, and then filled out the roster with Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil.
Celtics bringing back Tyler Zeller on a 2-year deal, with the second season at team option.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) July 23, 2016
The Celtics have agreed to guaranteed deals w/Gerald Green, Tyler Zeller, & Demetrius Jackson & partial guarantee w/Ben Bentil, source says.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) July 23, 2016
League source says right now, R.J. Hunter, James Young, Ben Bentil and John Holland are in position to fight for the final roster spot.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) July 23, 2016
Per sources, Gerald Green to get 1 yr deal at vet minimum (little more than $1.4 million); Zeller 2 yrs at $8 mil per, only 1st guaranteed.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) July 23, 2016
With Green, Zeller, and rookie Jaylen Brown, Boston now has 15 guaranteed contracts and three partial or non-guaranteed deals to provide aforementioned competition in training camp.
None of these moves preclude the Celtics from pulling off a major deal at any time. They can clear any number of these players from the books fairly easily or just pay off the lower-money ones to clear space by waiving them. If a team calls with an offer for a star, the Celtics can be ready to make the move in minutes. But August is typically NBA vacation time as league and team personnel separate until the fall. These moves signal the Celtics locking up the roster they intend to take into camp... unless a trade is configured.
Zeller gives Boston a big man with real height who remains a better rim protector than the departed Jared Sullinger and who can play extended minutes alongside Al Horford if necessary. As a restricted free agent, there wasn't much market for him, and Zeller helps provide depth.
Hunter should secure that last spot, but teams often bring more than 15 players into camp. So on the one hand, these moves signal a shift from the Celtics actively pursuing a deal to a semi-hibernation, and on the other, nothing is settled in any way and if the opportunity arises, Boston can make the superstar deal they've been chasing if the opportunity arises.