Celtics UFA, RFA Roster News, Rumors Entering 2019 NBA Free AgencyJune 29, 2019
With free agency officially opening Sunday, the Boston Celtics set the table by deciding on whether to tender their players heading for restricted free agency.
On Saturday, Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported Boston gave Terry Rozier a qualifying offer for 2019-20, which allows the Celtics to match any offer sheet he receives from another team.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Boston also extended the qualifying offer to Daniel Theis but will allow Brad Wanamaker to become an unrestricted free agent. None of P.J. Dozier, Jonathan Gibson and R.J. Hunter got a qualifying offer either, per Yahoo Sports' Keith Smith.
Rozier is by far the biggest name in the group. He averaged 9.0 points and 2.9 assists in 79 appearances for the team this past season while shooting 35.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Charania reported Kyrie Irving is "fully focused" on the Brooklyn Nets as he mulls his next step, so the Celtics are likely in need of a new starting point guard. Rozier could fill that void.
Wojnarowski reported Thursday that Boston has "emerged as the frontrunner" to sign free-agent point guard Kemba Walker. The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn tweeted Saturday that the Celtics were likely to give Rozier a qualifying offer and then rescind it in the event they reached an agreement with Walker.
According to Charania, Walker plans to formally agree with the team on a four-year, $141 million contract when free agency begins.
Beyond the fact that Walker would clearly be the No. 1 option at the point ahead of Rozier, Boston would take his qualifying offer away because it needs every penny it can to pursue a max free agent such as Walker.
The Celtics head into the offseason $65.2 million over the salary cap, which factors in cap holds for Rozier as well as Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. By shedding all of its cap holds, Boston's available money climbs to a little over $34 million, per Spotrac.
Theis' qualifying offer is only $1.8 million, so it doesn't alter the Celtics' finances too much. He'll presumably earn more on a new deal with Boston or another team, but general manager Danny Ainge can worry about that once he has finalized his business with Walker or another marquee free agent.