Celtics

After Celtics big (man) spending spree, what's the plan at center?

After Celtics big (man) spending spree, what's the plan at center?

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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Celtics get swimming lessons from Olympic medalists Cullen Jones, Elizabeth Beisel

Celtics get swimming lessons from Olympic medalists Cullen Jones, Elizabeth Beisel

Sunday was an eventful off-day for several of the Boston Celtics' stars, who got to hang with some of the finest American swimmers we'll see this summer in Tokyo.

Kemba Walker got some schwag from Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones and Elizabeth Beisel:

 

Elsewhere, Grant Williams got in the pool and took some lessons:

The swimmers teamed up with the Celtics to encourage more youths to pick up swimming. The benefits, as Williams explained, are manifold:

"It’s not only about learning a skill, but it’s just fun. I enjoyed being in the water," Williams said. "It felt pretty cool to be able to say you know how to swim, and it’s a workout. Some people hate lifting weights. Some people hate running. Swimming is one of those things that gets your whole body into it — your arms, your legs — and you’re breathing, so I think it not only allows you to live longer, but look a little bit better as you get up there in age."

Even Danny Ainge was getting in on the fun . . .

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Jaylen Brown (thumb) and Kemba Walker (knee) questionable for Celtics vs. Lakers

Jaylen Brown (thumb) and Kemba Walker (knee) questionable for Celtics vs. Lakers

The Boston Celtics are going to be facing a tough task on Monday afternoon as they look to snap a three-game losing streak. They'll be taking on the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers in the Lakers' only trip to Boston of the regular season.

But in the game, the Celtics may be down a few key players.

According to the team's official Twitter account, both Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker are questionable for the game while Robert Williams will once again be out with a hip injury.

Brown has missed the last two games, both losses, with a thumb injury while Walker missed Saturday night's loss to the Suns with a sore right knee. The team would probably like to get at least one of them back given their recent struggles (2-6 in their past eight games).

Brown has averaged 20 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game this season for the Celtics and is shooting an efficient 49.2 percent from the field. Walker, meanwhile, is the team's leading scorer and he has averaged 22.1 points per game to go along with a team-high 4.9 assist per game. If both miss the game, the C's will seriously miss their respective presences. 

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That said, the Celtics could benefit from the Lakers not being at full strength for the contest. They have a couple of key players that will be questionable in the lead-up to the game and that includes Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo, according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell.

Davis has missed the last five Lakers games with the injury and the fact that he didn't practice on Sunday morning could make him truly questionable for the game. So far this season, Davis is averaging 27.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.6 blocks per game for the Lakers and has served as a perfect superstar complement to LeBron James.

As for Rondo, the former Celtic has been a great bench option for the Lakers and is averaging 7.6 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game as the team's sixth man. Rondo has missed the past three games with his finger injury and it remains to be seen if he'll be ready to return in front of the TD Garden crowd.

We'll have more updates on these players as tip-off for Monday night's game draws nearer.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Lakers, which begins Monday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.