No, not really. Having four max contracts pretty much condemns you to a very heavy luxury tax bill.
I suppose I agree, but I'm not sure it's a dealbreaker in this situation. For instance, could you carry four max contracts in 2018-19 and 2019-20 and pay a large tax bill in those years, after which Horford's contract comes off the books? Or are you still in cap hell after that, given that you'd have to pay up for Brown and or Tatum once their rookie contracts have expired? I honestly don't know.
Ultimately it depends as to what you’re giving away and what the actual budget it. If you traded Tatum, the Lakers pick, Morris, and worked some sort of magic with a S&T of someone acquired by the DPE to fill out the salary, you could probably have a payroll of $127 million or so if you also let Smart and Baynes walk and fill the roster with guys at the minimum. That’ll produce a tax bill of $9 million and is affordable if we accept the premise. The following year, however, that payroll spikes to between $145-$150 million, with a luxury tax bill that could be another $45 million on top, and that assumes we let Rozier walk in free agency, and fill the roster again with draft picks and minimum contracts.
The following year Jaylen comes due, and while you can maybe resign Horford for less than his prior deal, the salaries are going to end up around the same place, if not a bit more when you take into account the raises built into contracts and Jaylen’s new deal. The Celtics would be $10-15 million over the luxury tax, which with the repeater tax produces a tax bill again in the $40 million range.
It’s not to say it isn’t worth it, as you’d wind up with a 3-5 year run as the favorite to win a title. But it would mean the Celtics would have the top payroll in the entire league for multiple seasons, which has not occurred with this ownership group.