The Celtics are waiving forward Jabari Parker, according to a league source. On opening night, $1.1 million of Parker’s $2.3 million salary would have become guaranteed. Boston now has one open roster spot and one open two-way contract slot.
President of basketball operations Brad Stevens said recently the team would likely wait to see what players became available before deciding how to use the second two-way spot. The Celtics, who are operating above the luxury-tax threshold, could simply keep the 15th roster spot open. In addition to being a cost-saving measure, it could also create options for two-for-one trades.
Also, two-way contract players are now eligible to be active for up to 50 games per season, essentially serving as end-of-roster depth at a lower price.
Several notable veterans have been cut in recent days, including Dante Exum, Avery Bradley, Kris Dunn, and Jordan Bell.
The Celtics signed Parker, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2014 draft, to a two-year deal last April, but just $100,000 of this season’s salary was guaranteed. He played in 10 games with the Celtics last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. He started Boston’s preseason finale against the Heat on Friday, registering 4 points and three steals.
Different kind of mask
Payton Pritchard, who suffered a broken nose in the second quarter of Boston’s preseason loss to the Magic last Wednesday, has been fitted for a mask and will be cleared to play in the season opener against the Knicks on Wednesday.
Pritchard’s nose was bandaged Sunday and he took part in the non-contact portions of Boston’s practice.
“I think I’ll be fine,” he said. “Just have to put the reps in, get enough work that it should be normal.”
Center Robert Williams, who missed Friday’s preseason game against the Heat because of knee tendinitis, was a full participant Sunday and will play against New York.
Jaylen Brown and Al Horford, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, have not been cleared to return to practice. Coach Ime Udoka remains confident Brown will be back for the opener.
“They could be behind a little bit conditioning-wise,” Udoka said. “We know what they can do when they come back and they did have the first week of training camp to kind of get acclimated to what I wanted.”
Jayson Tatum said he’s looking forward to facing former Celtics teammate Kemba Walker when Boston opens the season against the Knicks.
“Kemba is one of the best guys in the NBA, one of my favorite teammates that I’ve had the pleasure of playing with,” Tatum said. “Still super close, still talk to him. I’m happy for him being back home, playing in front of his family, where he grew up. Obviously, wish he could have stayed, but everything happens for a reason and I’m happy for him. I’m excited to see him and play against him.”
Walker and Tatum were teammates for the last two seasons. Boston traded Walker to the Thunder last season in the deal that brought Horford back to Boston. Walker later reached a buyout agreement and signed with the Knicks.