Tyler Zeller was a blessing in disguise for the Boston Celtics last season. He ran the floor and finished around the rim with ease.
The 25-year-old's rookie-scale contract expires at the end of this season, making him a restricted free agent unless the Celtics choose to extend him now. If not, they can match any offer sheet Zeller receives from another team next July.
What should they do? Here's SB Nation's Celticsblog with a closer look:
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"The Celtics lose flexibility by extending Zeller now, but they could get him at a cheaper price in the long run. Ainge could decide to wait and see how things go this season before committing money to Zeller. He would still have the right to match any offer next summer. Still, letting him hit the restricted free agent market opens the door for a team to offer him max money (some teams will find it hard to reach the salary floor and could throw short term money around). As for Zeller, he has the same decision that faces most serviceable NBA players at some point. Do you take the security of a long term deal now, or roll the dice on a bigger payday a year later (thus risking an injury over that time period)? Even at the prospect of banking some major raises next offseason, most free agents this summer elected for the security of a longer term deal."
Zeller averaged 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game last year, posting an impressive .594 True Shooting percentage and 18.9 PER. He was really good, and should be even better coming off the bench against second-unit centers.
Boston faces a tricky situation with his contract, but it's more than likely they play the waiting game and take care of it next summer.