Several Celtics Reportedly Turned Down More Money to Re-Sign in Boston

Multiple Celtics players turned down more money in free agency to stay with the team, which is good news for head coach Joe Mazzulla.
2024 NBA Finals - Game Three
2024 NBA Finals - Game Three / Tim Heitman/GettyImages

The NBA Champion Boston Celtics have had a busy offseason after winning the NBA Finals over the Dallas Mavericks in five games.

The Celtics immediately pulled out the Brinks truck for Jayson Tatum and Derrick White, signing both players to huge long-term deals. Tatum signed a five-year, $314 million contract extension, which will keep him in Boston until the 2029-30 season. He’s scheduled to become a free agent in the summer of 2030.

Meanwhile, White received a lucrative four-year, $118 million extension, keeping him with the team until the 2028-29 season. With the Celtics having so many huge contracts/salaries, it didn’t leave them much wiggle room to re-sign some of their own free agents.

However, to their surprise, several players turned down more money to stay in Boston, according to Celtics Director of Player Personnel Austin Ainge.

"Extremely grateful. We had some guys turn down more money other places to come back. It feels really good that guys we care about a lot to come back and go for another run."

Austin Ainge, Celtics executive’s Brian Robb reported that Luke Kornet, who was re-signed to a vet minimum for one year, had interest from multiple suitors, but decided to return. In addition to Kornet, Boston re-signed Xavier Tillman and Neemias Queta to veteran minimum deals.

It doesn't come as a surprise to see teams wanting to take a chance on Kornet, who has become a quality backup center in the NBA. This past season for the Celtics, the 28-year-old big man posted 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game off the bench.

Those aren't out-of-this-world stats for the veteran center, but in a league where having a solid backup center is valuable, the Celtics are happy to see Kornet back for one more year.

The Celtics realized to make another deep playoff run next season and get back to the NBA Finals, they needed to retain as many guys as possible. They will not have Kristaps Porzingis to begin the regular season, so head coach Joe Mazzulla will look for Kornet, Tillman, and Queta to provide quality frontcourt minutes.

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