By Feb. 24, the Celtics have to sign at least two players to standard contracts to meet the required minimum of 14.
They'll canvass the buyout market, determine whether to promote someone from the Maine Celtics, as they did with Luke Kornet, assess players across the G League, and explore their options overseas.
While playoff teams, particularly championship contenders, would love for the Magic to buy out Gary Harris and Robin Lopez, both are happy in Orlando. And the Magic are glad to have those two mentoring younger players such as Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Wendell Carter Jr., and Mo Bamba.
If a player gets waived, it must happen by Mar. 1 for them to remain playoff eligible, and if Harris or Lopez push for a buyout before then, it'll happen. But as that deadline creeps closer, that seems unlikely, especially for Harris. At 27-years-old, he may prefer finishing this season in his current situation, where he's averaging 9.4 shots and playing nearly 30 minutes per game before reaching free agency this summer.
Odds are, not all the buyout candidates mentioned below will become available, but here are ten players the Celtics could potentially choose from to fill out their roster.
Since the Trail Blazers acquired Eric Bledsoe in the trade that sent Norman Powell and Robert Covington to the Clippers, he's yet to play for them. Bledsoe has $3.9 million guaranteed for next season, so the two sides may be negotiating how much of that he'll have to give up to finish the season elsewhere.
Portland would surely prefer trading him rather than paying any of that, but if Bledsoe's willing to sacrifice enough of what he's owed, he'll reach the buyout market. It will probably take longer than the next two days for this situation to get resolved, but that wouldn't stop the Celtics from signing him if he became available later than that.
Bledsoe doesn't provide much as a shooter, but Boston would benefit from what he brings defensively.
The Nets waived Jevon Carter to create a roster spot to sign Goran Dragic. Carter is a dogged on-ball defender. He's having a down season as a shooter, converting on 33.1 percent of the 2.8 threes he's hoisting per game, but last season, Carter made 37.1 percent of his 2.5 attempts from beyond the arc, and in 2019-20, Carter knocked down 42.5 percent of the 2.5 threes he was taking.
Tomas Satoransky is yet to suit up for the Spurs, suggesting he's a candidate to reach the buyout market. Before getting traded to San Antonio, Satoransky struggled to find success with the Pelicans. But playing for the Bulls last season, he averaged 7.7 points, 4.7 assists, and 2.4 rebounds.
As a six-foot-seven ball-handler who's an effective facilitator and can provide a bit of everything, Satoransky's addition would be a beneficial way for the Celtics to round out the end of their rotation.
The man affectionately known as Iso Joe can still hoop at a high enough level to merit consideration for a second stint with the Celtics this season.
As brief as his 10-day reunion with Boston was, he made a favorable impression and has the respect and the ear of, most notably, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Signing Johnson would be like having another coach and could prove more valuable than any player the Celtics could bring in to compete for minutes as the ninth or tenth player in their rotation.
The five-foot-eleven point guard, primarily known for his scoring, is a career 38 percent three-point shooter on 3.4 attempts per game. This season, while with the Rockets, Augustin converted 40.6 percent of the 2.8 shots he was taking from beyond the arc.
Houston waived Augustin to create room for Dennis Schroder. He's a liability defensively, but he's still a good option to have if Boston wants to add another ball-handler, especially one who would also help them from long range.
Bazemore's still with the Lakers for now, but they'll have to clear a roster spot to make room for anyone they add to their roster. He began the season as a starter but now plays sparingly, making him a candidate to be jettisoned.
If Bazemore reaches the buyout market, the Celtics would be wise to pursue signing him. He's a high-energy, 3&D wing who shot 40.8 percent on 2.7 shots from beyond the arc with the Warriors last season.
Galloway is currently playing for the College Park Skyhawks of the NBA G League. He also has seven years of NBA experience.
Galloway's a career 36.8 percent three-point shooter on an average of 3.8 attempts per game, making him another candidate to round out Boston's roster.
Clemons is a logical candidate if the Celtics want to promote someone from their G League affiliate in Maine.
Clemons, who earned a 10-day contract with the Hawks earlier this season, is averaging 19.5 points, 5.6 assists, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.6 steals in 19 G League games. He's also shooting 41.3 percent from beyond the arc while taking 9.4 threes per contest.
Burton is another player the Celtics could call up from Maine. The former Oklahoma City Thunder wing's generating 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.4 steals per game while converting 2.8 threes at a 40.6 percent clip.
Options outside of the Maine Celtics include Justin Anderson, a five-year NBA veteran who played three games with the Cavaliers and Pacers earlier this season.
Now with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Anderson is producing 25.5 points, burying 41 percent of the 10.3 threes he's taking, grabbing 7.3 rebounds, dishing out 4.5 assists, swiping 1.4 steals, and blocking nearly a shot per game in 14 G League appearances.
Like Joe Johnson, Jackson was brought in on a 10-day contract earlier this season. After that, he played in six games for the Suns but is now on the Texas Legends, meaning Boston can bring him back if it wants to.
In ten G League games, Jackson's averaging 23.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, three assists, and 1.1 steals while shooting 39.4 percent on 10.9 threes per contest.
As for why Isaiah Thomas was left off the list, Brad Stevens has gotten asked about the possibility of the Celtics bringing him back on several occasions, but he's consistently side-stepped the question. A reunion seems unlikely.
And while Boston may sign at least one player from this list, when it comes to the ninth and tenth spots in the Celtics' rotation, they're likely better off prioritizing the development of Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard.