When the Boston Celtics signed players during the offseason, the intent was for them to be around for at least one season.
Now that December 15 has arrived, the first day players signed in the offseason can be moved, let’s just say the handful of players inked by the Celtics aren’t losing any sleep at the moment.
That’s because the Celtics are like most teams who certainly enjoy the option of potentially moving on from what may have been a bad offseason signing, but more likely than not are not willing to pull the plug just yet.
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Still, it’s worth taking inventory of how the Celtics’ offseason signees have fared thus far, and assess whether between now and the trade deadline if they should buy or sell the idea of keeping these players still in the fold.
Contract: Four years, $140.8 million
Key stats: 23.1 points. 4.2 rebounds. 5.3 assists
Walker has been more than just Boston’s top scorer this season. He has brought about a brand of leadership that this group needs in order for them — more nights than not — to be the best basketball versions of themselves.
Take into account his durability — he’s missed seven games in the last four-plus seasons — coupled with his shot-making in the latter stages of games and you have a player who's absolutely essential to this team’s success, particularly when it’s defined by deep playoff runs.
Buy or sell the idea of keeping Walker? BUY
Contract: Two-years, $10 million.
Key per-game stats: 7.4 points. 6.3 rebounds. 1.5 blocks.
In what began as a crowded frontcourt of bigs, Daniel Theis has emerged as the clear-cut leader at the center position. While undersized most games, the 6-foot-8 Theis has utilized his quickness around the rim, defensive instincts, and lessons learned from ex-Celtics Al Horford and Aron Baynes to keep Boston’s defense from taking the kind of defensive nose-dive many predicted with the Celtics' defensive rating (104.1) currently eighth in the NBA.
Among starting centers to appear in at least 20 games this season while defending at least 10 shots per game, Theis ranks fifth while limiting players he defends to shooting 43.4 percent from the field.
Throw in the fact that he’s becoming more of a three-point threat lately (He’s 5-for-8 from 3-point range in December), Theis has shown himself to be an important cog in Boston’s overall success this season.
Buy or sell the idea of keeping Theis? BUY
Contract: Two years, $9.8 million
Key per-game stats: 7.9 points. 6.0 rebounds. 1.1 assists
The thinking at the time of the signing was that Kanter was coming in to be the team’s starting center. That is how the season began, but injuries limited his impact and in doing so, opened the door for Daniel Theis to emerge as the team’s best option at center.
But the ailments that limited Kanter the first few weeks of the season are starting to fade away, replaced by the kind of offensive consistency the Celtics were hoping for this season.
He is coming off his best game as a Celtic after tallying a near double-double of 20 points and nine rebounds against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers, which included him hauling in three boards on the offensive glass — an area in which Boston has struggled mightily in recent years.
Boston is currently 14th in the NBA in offensive rebounds per game (10.3), after having finished in the bottom-10 each of the three previous seasons.
As long as he’s relatively healthy, Kanter is giving Boston exactly what it wants and needs in order to compete with the top teams in the East, doing so on a very team-friendly contract.
Buy or sell the idea of keeping Kanter? BUY
Contract: One year, $1.4 million
Key per-game stats: 7.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists.
Wanamaker isn’t going anywhere unless he agrees to be traded, which is one of the perks that comes with signing a one-year deal with the team you played for the previous season.
But even if Wanamaker didn’t have that leverage, it’s highly unlikely the Celtics would look to move on from him at this point in time. Among the team’s reserves, Wanamaker has been the most consistent backup guard of the bunch. He understands what head coach Brad Stevens is looking for in terms of running the team, gaining the trust of the entire coaching staff as well as his teammates, by being a consistent presence at both ends of the floor.
In addition, Wanamaker is more comfortable now looking for his own offense, which is a good thing when you consider he shot 41 percent from 3-point range last season as a rookie and is doing pretty much the same now (he’s at 40 percent on 3’s) albeit with more attempts.
When you look at all the offensive options this team has to turn to when they are at full strength, having a player like Wanamaker who can knock down shots consistently but doesn’t need or desire a ton of shots night-in, night-out, is a luxury for the Celtics.
Buy or sell the idea of keeping Wanamaker? BUY
Contract: Two years, $2.4 million
Key per-game stats: 2.6 points, 0.9 rebounds, 0.2 assists.
Javonte Green was the feel-good story of the summer for the Boston Celtics, a summer league invitee who wowed audiences with his above-the-rim theatrics and overall knack for getting buckets which earned him an invite to training camp and afterwards, the coveted 15th roster spot.
There’s no denying his talent, but it’s still too soon to know if he’ll stick around or not.
His contract becomes fully guaranteed if he’s not waived prior to January 10.
And at 6-4, Green plays a position (wing) where the Celtics are extremely deep this season.
So as much as Celtics fans are cheering for Boston’s current allotment of big men to keep playing well, Green is likely to be doing the same.
Because if they start to struggle and a decent big becomes available via the waiver wire between now and January, Green’s time with the Celtics will likely come to a sooner-than-expected end.
And with Robert Williams III having hip issues, Boston may not wait to try and add size if they sense that Williams’ injury will be a long-term setback.
Buy or sell the idea of keeping Green? SELL
Contract: Two years, $5.1 million
Key per-game stats: 1.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists
The lone international signing by the Celtics this past offseason, it has been a struggle for Vincent Poirier to get on the floor after having appeared in just nine games thus far.
But in those brief moments on the floor, it’s clear why the Celtics like him so much.
He’s a big, strong center who can be physical but also has a decent touch around the rim.
But like most rookies, he makes his share of assignment-related miscues that to a certain extent factor into why he doesn’t play more minutes.
However, the hip issues affecting Robert Williams III could open the door for more playing time in the near future for Poirier.
Regardless, the Celtics didn’t sign him with the intent of this being a make-or-break season.
The two-year deal Boston signed him to is in line with what a late first-round pick (in the early 20s) would be making, the kind of player who you don’t anticipate being a significant contributor from Day One.
But with his size and proven track record overseas, it’s highly unlikely the Celtics are ready to move on from him just yet.
Buy or sell the idea of keeping Poirier? BUY
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