The Celtics have until Wednesday to make decisions on three players’ futures. Two are dead-lock certainties. One is not. While the club will clearly be exercising their 2019-20 options on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the call on Guerschon Yabusele is more complicated. Tatum will get his third-year slot of $7,830,000 next season and Brown will get his fourth-year number, $6,534,829. The Celtics aren’t letting either get out of their sight.
And even though Yabusele’s third-year guarantee would be for a relatively modest $3,117,240, the real dollars are much greater. The club would be committing more than double that because of the luxury tax implications. And at present, Yabusele isn’t part of the main rotation and doesn’t figure to get there without injuries or roster moves that open playing time. It’s possible the Celts could decline the option and sign Yabusele to a more team-friendly deal next summer. But if the C’s pass now, the Dancing Bear will be an unrestricted free agent -- and if he shows something this season, he could be wanted elsewhere. What’s more, if there is demand, Boston would be able to start a new deal at an amount no higher than what it declined. If the option is picked up, the process will play out again at this time next season, when a call will have to be made on $4,781,846 for 2020-21.
But he’s not concerning himself with that just now. “I would love to be back here with the team,” Yabusele said. “The Celtics are a great organization, so if I have a chance to be back here, I would love to do that.”
January 28, 2023 | 9:39 pm EST Update
On the heels of James Dolan publicly declaring his playoff expectations for this season, Knicks’ coach Tom Thibodeau said he doesn’t feel pressure to reach the owner’s goal. “I never feel pressure because I know what I put into each day,” Thibodeau said. “I think anybody who puts everything they have into each day, you never feel pressure.” Dolan told WFAN on Friday that he “fully expects” the Knicks to reach the playoffs and “that will definitely be a benchmark.” Left unsaid was what would occur if the Knicks fail, but coaches are often the first on the chopping block when an owner is displeased.
Callie Caplan: Luka Doncic (left ankle sprain) took the court during his usual pregame warm-up window to do a watered-down version of his typical shooting routine. No pivots, stepbacks or high impact, but has worked for about 20 minutes on midrange, 3s and free throws. pic.twitter.com/QPig0A8pff
January 28, 2023 | 8:32 pm EST Update
“As I’ve gone through free agency this time around, of course I’m thinking of where I can compete for my third championship, but the words home and family are what I kept coming back to … I need to be there for my daughter, for my son, for my wife,” Parker posted. “I can’t be without them for parts of the season when Lailaa is in school and I won’t miss her volleyball games or school dances simply because of distance. Lailaa starts high school in August and I need to be there for her, just as she’s been there for me. “After evaluating the landscape together with my family, we’ve decided the Las Vegas Aces are the right organization for us at this point in our lives.”