Players who could round out the Celtics' roster
BOSTON – While this summer’s free agency haul didn’t deliver the big-name talents like we’ve seen the past two summers for the Boston Celtics, it was by all accounts a success.
They re-signed Aron Baynes and later Marcus Smart, two key components to Boston’s defense being among the best in the NBA last season.
Boston also added Brad Wanamaker, one of the top guards in Europe last season, along with drafted Robert Williams III, a player most believe has lottery (top-14) talent despite slipping to the Celtics at No. 27.
As you go up and down the Celtics roster, it’s hard to point to any one position as having a great gaping hole in need of filling.
But if the Celtics were to add a 15th player, it be a player with a very specific strength to his game (scoring, rebounding, defending, for example) who because of Boston’s depth, has a realistic expectation about having a limited role.
Again, it’s unlikely that Boston will fill that 15th roster spot this early in the season but if they do, here are five free agents still out there that if the Celtics were eager to fill that spot (which they aren’t), they should get some consideration.
Yes, he has 18 NBA seasons under his belt and isn’t nearly the ankle-breaker he once was. But Crawford ranks among the greatest sixth men in NBA history, a guy who understands better than most what coming off the bench means.
Because of Boston’s already-cramped backcourt, the addition of Crawford would indeed be more about adding depth near the end of the bench that can be called upon at any given moment, and not necessarily need a ton of minutes to get warmed up.
Another potential free agent I’m not crazy about for a ton of reasons, but there’s no denying the man can get buckets and does a solid job rebounding the ball as well. His defense and conditioning remain major question marks surrounding his game, but as a young, end-of-the-bench player you can do a lot worse from a talent standpoint. Like Crawford, this too seems highly unlikely considering where the roster stands right now. But for a franchise that’s always in the market for talent at the lowest price available, Okafor is at least worthy of some consideration.
He’ll be 38 years old next month and it’s clear that West doesn’t have nearly as much left in the basketball tank to be a significant contributor at this point in his NBA career. What he does have going for him is the kind of institutional basketball knowledge -- and a couple of championship rings from playing with Golden State -- that’s priceless to a locker room whose mission is to get to the NBA Finals and compete most likely against West’s former team. Adding him would be more about presence than actual play, something the Celtics might give more consideration to if they had one or two additional roster spots available.
His first stint with the Boston Celtics didn’t go particularly well, in part because Monroe came midway through the season after being bought out by Phoenix. He was also limited because Boston’s style of play didn’t necessarily lend itself to his strengths which for most of his career, has been being back-to-the-basket scorer who could also serve as a post-up facilitator. Adding him at this point wouldn’t make a lot of sense, but if he’s available deeper into the season and Boston feels a growing need for size, do not be surprised if Monroe’s camp gets a call about his availability.
The best player on the Boston Celtics’ summer league squad, the Celtics have made no secret about wanting to keep the 6-foot-6 Bird around. As a restricted free agent, Boston can match any offer sheet Bird receives. So far there haven’t been, but the interest in Bird extends beyond the Green Team. His youth, minimal cost and upside are all factors that made him one of the more talked about free agents during the Las Vegas Summer League. But because the Celtics are likely to want to keep a roster spot open for flexibility purposes, Boston may look to sign Bird to another two-way contract which would limit him to 45 days with the Celtics while the rest of his time would be spent with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA’s Gatorade League. Regardless of how it plays out, Bird has succeeded at controlling the only thing he had say in, and that’s play well enough to where the team has to think long and hard about how to keep him in tow.