Celts begin trimming roster

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The practice floor was a little less crowded for the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

The team has started the process of trimming its roster, informing Erik Murphy and camp invites Tim Frazier, Rodney McGruder and Christian Watford that they will be waived.

Frazier gets a minor stay of execution as he'll remain with the team through Wednesday's exhibition finale against the Brooklyn Nets and could help fill minutes as coach Brad Stevens plans to reduce the workload for his top rotation players.

"I just sat down with Erik Murphy, with Christian Watford, with Rodney McGruder, and Tim Frazier," Stevens said before Tuesday's practice. "We’re going to keep Tim through [Wednesday] night, and he knows that, because of potential minutes [against the Nets]. But all four of those guys will be waived and they’ve been great. I wish I didn’t have to waive them, they’ve been great teammates, they’ve put in extra work, they’ve come back in small groups and worked. But a couple of them had made mention that they’ve gotten better and that makes me feel good. They were all real professionals about it. I will root for them for sure."

Frazier, McGruder and Watford were brought to camp with the expectation of being funneled to the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League as affiliated players. They've worked countless hours over the past month with Maine's new coach, Scott Morrison, in preparation for the likelihood they'll land with the Claws.

The Celtics can assign up to four players to Maine as affiliated players, which means Murphy also could explore that opportunity if he's not enticed by another opportunity, including what's likely to be more lucrative overseas offers.

None of the four players set to be waived were expected to make the regular-season roster. Murphy was acquired as part of last month's swap with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but his contract was only $100,000 guaranteed, an ignorable amount for a team that's currently hovering about $2 million below the luxury tax line with a total commitment of $74.8 million.

Once those four players are formally waived, the Celtics will be down to 16 players and must make an additional move to get to the regular-season limit of 15 players before the start of the season.

Recently acquired Will Bynum remains away from the team as the Celtics examine potential avenues to avoid simply eating his $2.9 million contract, though waiving Bynum remains the most likely scenario if the team cannot otherwise clear space.

[Additional reading: Roster reset: How C's can trim to 15]