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Report: Celtics like Kendall Marshall but can’t really afford him

Nov 4, 2013, 3:56 PM EDT

Kendall Marshall AP

All you need to know about how Phoenix felt about Kendall Marshall is that last summer they traded for Eric Bledsoe and kept Goran Dragic. Of, if that wasn’t enough, they threw him in to match salaries in the Marcin Gortat trade, then the Wizards promptly waived him.

Because he’s got playmaking skills, he becomes a potential free agent project for another team, and the Celtics could be that team… except for the price, reports the Boston Globe (at tip Eye on Basketball).

Marshall is a pass-first point guard whose style never fit with the Suns, but he could serve as a solid backup for a building team. The Celtics would likely be interested in Marshall if his salary didn’t push them above the luxury tax and make them a repeat offender, something ownership desperately wants to avoid during this rebuilding phase.

You’re going to see a lot of this going forward: Teams are very wary of the tax line and the repeater tax, so if they can do something to get under it they will. (Watch the Clippers make a salary-move this year like dumping Willie Green to get under the line, for example.)

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Marshall does show playmaking skills, the problem is he can’t shoot (37.1 percent last season) and he doesn’t defend all that well. Maybe on a minimum salary at the end of the bench a team would take a gamble, but it’s not worth going over the tax line for him.

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