Just because the lockout is spoiling most of the NBA news this summer doesn’t mean that teams shouldn’t be preparing their free agent wish list for when the lockout ends. The Boston Celtics have just six players under contract and will need to fill out the roster rather quickly once the free agent signing period commences.
The Celtics need help at just about every single position and in almost every single facet of the game. The most glaring need is the Celtics’ lack of size.
There is no way and I mean NO WAY Boston can go into next season with only Jermaine O’neal at the center position. JaJuan Johnson was drafted and is a relatively skilled player who should help with the lack of depth down low but Boston will need to add size through free agency if they intend to contend for a championship next season.
Tyson Chandler, Nene and Marc Gasol are the three best available centers and all come with a price tag way above the Celtics’ current means. Chandler is rumored to be coveted by the Celtics brass. Chandler would have to be willing to pass up some serious ‘green’ if Boston were to acquire the defensive minded veteran who just won his first NBA title.
The Celtics will likely have to look elsewhere. The remaining viable options are as follows:
Samuel Dalembert: So Sammy was a bit overpaid last season at a whopping 13.4 million. That is a king’s ransom for someone who averaged 8.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. The new CBA will take care of that bloated salary as Dalembert should not come near such a figure again after such a paltry season performance. Sammy’s numbers are remarkably similar to that of the beloved Kendrick Perkins whose ghost haunted the Celtics after the trade. The difference between the two is Dalembert has more offensive upside but lacks the raw toughness Perkins provided. If Boston could bring Dalembert in at the mid-level exception or something near that figure that would be a winning proposition towards another championship run.
DeAndre Jordan: There isn’t a player that embodies what the Celtics need more than DeAndre Jordan. High praise you say? When taken in context it is the precise assessment. Jordan provides size, a defensive presence, and he is young! Still relatively raw but with a skill set that seems to be growing. Jordan enjoyed a fine season alongside Blake Griffin averaging 7.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. The Clippers rightfully extended a $1.1 million qualifying offer to Jordan which will allow them to match what he may receive on the open market. The Clippers are not known for wanting to spend big dollars but if the car jumper, Blake Griffin, wants Jordan to stay, Boston and every other team will have little to no chance of adding Jordan to their roster.
Kwame Brown: Forget the fact that he is one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history. Lets really forget that in many circles he is nicknamed “Doo Do” Brown. All jokes and half truths aside Brown came into his own last year. Sort of. Expectations of him being a franchise player were never realistic and Kwame still has the potential to be a serviceable pro. Serviceable isn’t exactly an exciting word but maybe he could be upgraded to productive if paired alongside Kevin Garnett and the intensity driven Celtics. If all other center options fail, Brown is a bargain basement cheap option Danny Ainge might look to explore.
There are plenty of other names on the market but these three seem to make some sense and fit into the Celtics defensive philosophy. A guy like Spencer Hawes is of some interest but has been traditionally very timid on the court. Eddy Curry is another name but he weighs a metric ton and I can’t see Doc Rivers wanting to deal with that kind of headcase.
If the Boston core truly believes they have one last title run left in them, it will take the addition of a big (or two) to make Banner 18 a reality.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com