Celtics

Should Celtics add big man depth? Six free agents for C's to target

Celtics
LaMarcus Aldridge

The Boston Celtics have a deep, versatile roster after reportedly adding Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari over the weekend.

But if there's one area where they could use some reinforcements, it's on the front line.

After sending Daniel Theis to the Indiana Pacers in the Brogdon trade, Boston has a frontcourt consisting of Robert Williams, Al Horford, Grant Williams and Luke Kornet. While head coach Ime Udoka could feature small-ball lineups with one center in 2022-23, the C's would benefit from adding a serviceable backup big man who can play 10-to-15 minutes per night and ease the burden on Williams and Horford.

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One of those big men came off the board Tuesday night in Thomas Bryant, who reportedly is joining the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency. So, who's left on the free-agent big man market?

Here are six centers/bigs who might be a good fit for Boston on a veteran-minimum contract:

LaMarcus Aldridge (Last team: Brooklyn Nets)

Age: 36

2021-22 stats: 12.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.9 apg, 1.0 bpg, 55.0 percent FG, 30.4 percent 3PT (47 games)

Aldridge's best days are behind him and he's not a strong defender, but he averaged nearly 13 points in just 22.3 minutes per game off the bench for Brooklyn last season.

The former Spurs star also has a very strong connection with Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, who was Aldridge's teammate on the Portland Trail Blazers and later helped recruit Aldridge to San Antonio as an assistant coach.

 

Moses Brown (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Age: 22

2021-22 stats: 6.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0 apg, 0.5 bpg, 63.8 percent FG (14 games)

Moses Brown "reunion," anyone? The 7-foot-2 big man came to Boston along with Al Horford in the Kemba Walker trade last June, but the Celtics dealt him to the Dallas Mavericks later in the offseason to acquire Josh Richardson.

Brown was inconsistent last season but flashed some upside with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2020-21 and could be worth a low-cost flier.

DeMarcus Cousins (Denver Nuggets)

Age: 31

2021-22 stats: 9.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.4 bpg, 46.0 percent FG, 30.3 percent 3PT (48 games)

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention Cousins, a four-time All-Star who has been linked to Boston in the past. Cousins' injury history and defensive limitations don't make him a great fit for the C's, but he's still a good ball-mover who can hit an outside shot or two.

Blake Griffin (Brooklyn Nets)

Age: 33

2021-22 stats: 6.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.3 bpg, 42.5 percent FG, 26.2 percent 3PT (56 games)

The Celtics reportedly were on Griffin's shortlist before he signed with the Nets in 2020. He's in the twilight of his career and probably wouldn't play more than 15 minutes per night, but he could provide the occasional spark off the bench, as he provided in Game 3 of Brooklyn's first-round playoff series with Boston (eight points in eight minutes).

Hassan Whiteside (Utah Jazz)

Age: 33

2021-22 stats: 8.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 0.4 apg, 1.6 bpg, 65.2 percent FG (65 games)

Whiteside hasn't always played up to his potential, but he's still a shot-blocking machine who has averaged 2.2 blocks per game over 10 NBA seasons. He probably wouldn't be amenable to a third-string center role, but perhaps the chance to compete for an NBA title would change his mind.

Ed Davis (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Age: 33

2021-22 stats: 0.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.2 apg, 0.3 bpg, 68.8 percent FG (31 games)

Davis hasn't been a productive player since the 2018-19 campaign with the Brooklyn Nets. But the Celtics won't be asking a lot from the veteran big man, who's a career 56.7 percent shooter and could probably give the C's about 10 minutes per night while providing some experience on the bench.