BOSTON – The Boston Celtics had some options as the trade deadline drew near, but they seemed more enamored with the buyout market.
From the buyout pool, Boston could have pursued a wing scorer or a big man, both being well-established needs.
Boston went with a big man in signing Greg Monroe.
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It was seen as a good move at the time, and even better now that Daniel Theis is out for the season after suffering a left meniscus tear in Boston’s 99-97 loss to Indiana on Sunday.
Many players, including Terry Rozier whose locker stall is next to Theis, said he didn’t find out about the injury until he arrived for practice on Monday.
“It sucks because that's my locker room guy. We're right next to each other at the arena and here so you know, we built a relationship,” Rozier said. “It's just tough to see it - not come to an end - obviously he's still going to be able to play basketball, but just with the season almost coming to an end, and then that happens, so it just sucks to see it. Great guy.”
But the injury to Theis reaffirms Boston deciding to acquire Monroe following him coming to terms on a buyout with the Phoenix Suns, rather than making a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies or the Los Angeles Clippers who wanted Boston to include a first round pick for any deal involving Grizzlies wing Tyreke Evans or Clippers guard Lou Williams who was a borderline all-star this season.
“One of the reasons why we wanted to sign Greg,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens, “was because you never know what can happen with your depth inside.”
Indeed, adding Monroe provided Boston with added depth at the center position.
Prior to signing Monroe, the 6-10 Daniel Theis was the team’s only player off the bench they could turn to and get size.
But with Theis out, that depth won’t be nearly the same.
While Monroe is a much better inside, on-the-block scorer than Theis, Theis’ energy and hustle will be sorely missed.
“Just incredible reliability and energy,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “I appreciate the way he approached every day. And he’ll approach rehab the same way. You really feel for him. He was a guy that came in … he came in knowing he could play, but not even expecting him to have the kind of season he had. And he didn’t change that when we brought Greg in. We mixed up minutes here and there. He just kept being who he is. We’re going to miss him on the court. But he’ll have a full recovery and get back better than ever when he steps back on the court.”
There’s no telling what Theis’ absence will mean for Monroe who has appeared in 11 games for the Celtics, averaging 7.8 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 54 percent from the field.
But when he signed on with the Celtics over his hometown New Orleans Pelicans, it was an opportunity like the one before him now that Monroe has been waiting for patiently.
“I just try to be prepared for every game,” Monroe told NBC Sports Boston. “My perspective, my mentality, I try to go into every game with the same focus.”