Celtics excuse veteran guard Keith Bogans for foreseeable future
Keith Bogans is a Celtic only by technicality, as Boston has had no need for the 33-year-old guard except to meet the league’s salary-matching rules in the trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn. Or, more specifically: As an asset in Boston’s efforts to move Jason Terry. Bogans will earn $5.1 million this season precisely because that figure helped to offset Terry’s similarly sized contract. There was no basketball motivation behind his acquisition — only a desire to trim an extra guaranteed season (worth $5.9 million in 2014-15) off the Celtics cap sheet.
With that, it comes as no surprise that the player attached to that $5.1 million contract has played sparingly for the Celtics this season. Bogans has gone weeks at a time without seeing the floor, and never played more than two consecutive games for Boston. He logged a quarter of his minutes (14) for the year (55) in a single January game, which he only played in due to Courtney Lee being traded just prior to tip-off and the game’s blowout margin. There are likely competitive teams who could make use of Bogans’ low-risk, well-understood game, but for a team in Boston’s position he offers incredibly little value.
So little, in fact, that Boston has apparently pardoned him from all team activities going forward for “personal reasons.” From Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston:
“I don’t really want to get into too many specifics,” Stevens said. “He’s obviously been excused from the team for now. He’s still under contract here. I personally like Keith and that’s where I’ll leave it.”
Does Stevens expect Bogans back with the team?
“Undecided, unknown,” he said.
This isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of the league, as the Celtics and Bogans are in a position to want very different things. That disconnect needn’t be hostile; Bogans can still cash his checks, the team can turn to players that better align with the franchise’s interests, and life rolls on. It’s understandable that Bogans would be frustrated with his situation given that he’d like to actually play in the NBA, but Boston gains nothing from putting him on the floor and would lose a tradeable salary if Celtics GM Danny Ainge were to release Bogans outright.
Ainge discussed Bogans’ situation specifically in an appearance on CBS Radio 98.5 in Boston (via ESPN):
“Well, it’s just been a difficult situation for Keith,” said Ainge. “Keith, when he was acquired in the [Brooklyn] deal, he was paid handsomely and was very fortunate to sort of come to our team with the contract he got. But at the same time, he’s a competitive guy, he wants to play, and there just wasn’t an opportunity. We were logjammed at all positions, but especially the 2 guard. He was not happy and just felt like — him and I both — came to the conclusion that he should just go home, spend time with his 10-year-old son and we’re just going to move on. I told him stay ready, if we have an injury and need him to come back. But it’s better for the team and better for him to part ways.”
Under the circumstances, that seems like the best the Celtics can do without working against their own interests. It’s a bummer for Bogans that he won’t be able to play NBA basketball any time soon, but he’ll have an opportunity to spend quality time with his aforementioned son and his 5.1 million new friends.