Sunday was the final day that players already on an NBA roster could be waived and still be playoff eligible for another team this season.
The day passed with barely a whimper — the Lakers reportedly waived Troy Daniels to free up a roster spot — but the names that might have most interested Celtics fans — players like Tristan Thompson and Evan Turner — remain with their lottery-bound teams.
Which means the buyout market remains an underwhelming pool of talent and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has already said he’s in no rush to wade in those waters. The Celtics can still add a player before the postseason but only those that are currently free agents will be playoff-eligible.
There remains a very vocal group of Celtics fans eager for the team to make any sort of move to alter a bench that has struggled to generate offensive output in recent games, most notably big-stage tilts against the Lakers and Rockets.
Boston’s four-man bench of Grant Williams, Semi Ojeleye, Brad Wanamaker, and Romeo Langford combined for nearly 52 minutes against the Rockets on Saturday night but produced just 4 points on 1-of-4 shooting.
While three of those players (Langford, Wanamaker, and Williams) had the highest offensive ratings on the team for the game, some will grumble simply about the point output, even though coach Brad Stevens is allowing his best offensive weapons to shoulder the load when paired with reserve groups.
It’s kinda humorous that, a year after Ainge caught grief for not being more proactive in eliminating some of Boston’s cluttered bench depth, there’s angst at the lack of an addition for a team that’s eager to accentuate its top players.
Yes, the Celtics would have loved if Marvin Williams had listened to Kemba Walker’s recruiting pitches and considered Boston before signing with Milwaukee. It didn’t happen.
The top names that landed on the buyout field already had deals lined up with more surefire contenders. Familiar scorers like Isaiah Thomas and Jamal Crawford remain unsigned but those are high-volume, low-defense players that don’t seem to be the right fit for this squad.
It’s prudent to remember just how hit and miss the buyout market can be. In Boston, players picked up in late February or early March have typically failed to alter the trajectory of the team’s season.
For this week’s Celtics report card, we decided to rank the veteran additions that Boston has made since the 2007-08 championship season. For this exercise, we’re ignoring signings where the Celtics focused on adding young, long-range guys like Chris Babb and Coty Clarke.
1. P.J. Brown, Sam Cassell (2008)
As Boston’s Big Three barreled towards the postseason, they stopped to pick up a pair of veterans near the finish line of the regular season. Brown had been out of basketball, while Cassel got cut free by the Los Angeles Clippers in late February.
Yes, Brown produced a big Game 7 against Cleveland in the East semifinals, hitting a big late-game jumper to help the Celtics advance. Brown and Cassell, both 38, were pieces that Doc Rivers felt more comfortable leaning on than younger players like Leon Powe, Glen Davis, and Tony Allen.
2. Ryan Hollins (2012)
During the Big Three’s last gasp, the Celtics picked up 27-year-old Hollins in late March after waiving Chris Wilcox, who was prepping for aortic surgery. Hollins came with a stamp of approval from both Paul Pierce and Garnett (summer workout buddies) but it probably didn’t impact the team’s path.
Hollins averaged 1.5 points and 1.6 rebounds over 10 minutes per game in 17 playoff appearances. He filled a need for size-deprived Boston, but the team leaned heavily on its top 6 during a playoff run that was cut short when LeBron James went supernova at the end of the conference semis.
3. Michael Finley (2010)
Amid some second-half stumbles, the Celtics picked up the 36-year-old Finley in hopes of bolstering their roster. He didn’t move the needle much, particularly in the postseason where he averaged less than a point per game while playing 6 minutes per night in 18 appearances.
There’s a case to be made that he actually took time away from Tony Allen late in that season and Allen ultimately elected to sign elsewhere that summer.
4. Greg Monroe (2018)
Boston picked up Monroe in February 2018 with hopes of adding size and an offensive punch, but his defensive limitations made it tough to keep him on the court.
He was Boston’s 10th man in the 2018 playoffs, logging 10 minutes per night in 11 appearances. Boston brought Monroe back on a 10-day in late March 2019, but ultimately didn’t bring him aboard for the postseason.
5. Stephon Marbury, Mikki Moore (2009)
The 2008-09 Celtics were even more of a wrecking ball than the 2008 title team, but Kevin Garnett’s knee injuries derailed the season.
With Garnett sidelined, the Celtics picked up 33-year-old Moore and 31-year-old Marbury in late February. Neither made much of an impact, particularly in the postseason.
Marbury averaged 3.7 points over 12 minutes per game in the playoffs while shooting 30.3 percent from the field. Moore barely played. A Garnett-less Boston got bounced in Round 2 versus the Magic.
6. Troy Murphy, Sasha Pavlovic, Carlos Arroyo (2011)
In the aftermath of a Kendrick Perkins trade that rattled the Celtics veterans, Boston signed Murphy, Pavlovic, and Arroyo as reinforcements.
That trio combined for a whopping three minutes of playoff action during Boston’s nine-game march to elimination while trying to get through with two duct-taped O’Neals (Shaquille and Jermaine).
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