With Luka Samanic and Brodric Thomas cut, the Boston Celtics have 16 players on their roster excluding their players on two-way contracts and can only allow 15 players to be on the roster at maximum. With opening night against the Philadelphia 76ers only days away, the Celtics have to decide who to keep around between Noah Vonleh, Justin Jackson, and Jake Layman.
The Celtics have two open roster spots, though they could potentially leave one open to start the season if they decide that’s the better option. No matter what route they take, it appears they already have chosen one player in mind who has earned his spot. According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Vonleh has all but won his spot on the roster.
“Forward Noah Vonleh’s extended opportunities during the preseason are no accident, and the source said the former first-round pick is best positioned to secure one of the final two open spots. Vonleh, a Haverhill native, started Boston’s 112-103 win over the Hornets last Friday and had 14 points and 13 rebounds.”
Vonleh was originally drafted ninth overall by the Hornets in the 2014 NBA Draft, but has bounced around a lot in the league since his rookie year. Vonleh last played in the NBA during the 2020-21 season for the Brooklyn Nets. He spent last season with the Shanghai Sharks.
While it appears inevitable that Vonleh will be on the roster come opening night, what remains to be seen is if he’ll be on the team for the whole season.
Where Celtics Stand on Grant Williams Extension
Himmelsbach also provided an update on how extension talks have gone between the Celtics and fourth-year forward Grant Williams.
“The Celtics continue to have discussions with fourth-year forward Grant Williams’s camp about a contract extension ahead of Monday’s deadline, but nothing appears imminent,” Himmelsbach said. “As of Thursday afternoon the two sides were essentially at a stalemate, a league source said, but that’s fairly common at this stage. Williams is believed to be seeking a four-year deal with an average annual salary of around $13 million to $17 million, but the Celtics’ offers have fallen short.”
While it appears the two sides have not agreed on an extension as of yet, Himmelsbach says that the Celtics have every intention of keeping him long-term.
“Regardless, the source stressed Williams will remain an important part of the Celtics’ future whether he signs an extension now or becomes a restricted free agent next summer.”
Vonleh Praised Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown
While talking to reporters on October 9, Vonleh talked about how he’s trying to fit in with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown while also praising their abilities when they’re on the basketball court.
“I’ve been on a team where they had a two-headed monster in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, but this is a different type of monster with Jayson and Jaylen,” Vonleh said. “I feel like they’re more dynamic, they’ve got good size, and they can do a lot out there. So, pretty much doing the same thing, screening those guys, getting them open, and making it easier for them.”
A good way for a player to make himself standout in practice is by trying to fit with the team’s best players while recognizing their strengths on the court and how he can make them better. It’s clear that Vonleh is trying to do just that with his Celtics teammates.