Let's imagine for a moment that the Celtics can pull off the signings of free agents Kevin Durant and Al Horford.
For the sake of this overly optimistic dream, the Celtics would be signing Durant to a two-year contract that includes a player option after one season so he can re-enter free agency again next summer when the salary cap is expected to jump to at least $110-million per team. He would re-sign with the Celtics, making the overall value of his deals with Boston to be 5-years and $162.9-million. Horford will receive a maximum 4-year, $113-million contract.
I'm no expert on the Collective Bargaining Agreement but those two deals alone work out to roughly $54.4-million of the Celtics cap room for next season, leaving them with roughly $40-million left to spend.
Thanks to Spotrac, we have an excellent source for the Celtics salary cap structure. Avery Bradley ($8.2M), Isaiah Thomas ($6.5M), Jae Crowder ($6.2M), Marcus Smart ($3.5M), Kelly Olynyk ($3.1), Terry Rozier ($1.9M), Jordan Mickey ($1.2M), James Young ($1.8M), RJ Hunter ($1.2M), and Jaylen Brown ($3.9M) count for approximately $37.5-million. Young, a 2014 first round pick, could easily be shipped to a team hoping to gamble on his potential and the Celtics armada of future second round picks could be included to sweeten the deal for a team to add his contract. That gets us down to roughly $35.7-million. Shedding RJ Hunter, a promising shooter, would save an additional $1.2-million against the cap, dropping the team's committed salaries to a workable $34.5M.
This means that Amir Johnson, a serviceable defender and rebounder, will not have his $12-million team option picked up but that Jonas Jerebko, a sweet shooting forward, will have his $5-million team option exercised.
The team would also need to convince their third first round pick in last week's draft, Ante Zizic, to come to the NBA this year or sign a minimum salary free agent big man to add front court depth.
The Jerebko and Zizic contracts bring the salary cap number to $95-million but I'm sure the brain trust on Causeway Street will crunch the numbers to make this work.
With some creativity in rounding out the roster - and with Durant's opinion factoring into these decisions - the 2016-2017 Celtics could (hopefully) look like this. Keep in mind that Brad Steven does not see his players in traditional roles such as power forward and shooting guard and that many of these players can overlap in positions. The promise of this unrealistic roster in Stevens' hands is limitless.
Post: Al Horford, Jordan Mickey, Ante Zizic
Tall Wings: Kevin Durant, Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko
Mid-Size Wings: Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown
Ball Handlers: Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Terry Rozier
Unlikely. But promising.