BOSTON -- For the Celtics, replacing Al Horford was not expected to be the job of just one man.
How about four?
We’re not even 48 hours removed from the Horford era, all three years of it, coming to an end before Danny Ainge and the Celtics have moved on by loading up on potential replacements.
NBA veteran big man Enis Kanter was the first domino to fall Boston's way when he agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal on Monday.
Boston doubled up on bringing in bigs on Tuesday by signing French 7-footer Vincent Poirier to a two-year deal, while also re-signing restricted 6-10 free agent Daniel Theis to a two-year, $10 million contract.
And we’re not even going to include 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall who signed an Exhibit 10 contract with Boston and would likely spend most of his time with the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s G-League affiliate if he sticks with the team.
They join second-year center Robert Williams III as the Celtics players vying for the starting job at center.
Horford’s departure took with it any realistic hopes that this Celtics team as they were comprised immediately following him leaving, would be a title contender.
But this Celtics team is being built to compete, with nowhere being more obvious of this than the competition brewing up at center.
The goal of that competition is for all involved to play their best and thus raises the potential for success this season.
But if that doesn’t happen this season, no worries.
Boston has positioned itself to quickly pivot away from the current bevy of bigs, all of whom are on deals lasting no more than two years.
Those short-term deals also allow Boston to have the kind of salary cap flexibility that they will surely need going forward if they are to get back to where they were at the start of last season, and that’s being among the top teams in the NBA.
And with all the candidates in their early-to-mid 20s, this season affords them a chance to play a major role for the Celtics.
Indeed, it was the opportunity to play a major role that would ultimately be among the factors that attracted players to Boston.
Because when all is said and done, NBA players are no different than those who play AAU ball, high school or in college.
Whatever team they’re on, they want to be starting or at a minimum get major minutes.
For Boston’s quartet of bigs - Kanter, Williams III, Theis and Poirier - the time and opportunity to be a major player in the NBA is now.
And while no one player can fill the void that’s left with Horford’s departure (and to a lesser extent, Aron Baynes being traded), one of these guys will be in the starting lineup on opening night.
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