Frank Kaminsky

Celtics hoping to come up big, literally, in their quest to add size

Celtics hoping to come up big, literally, in their quest to add size

BOSTON -- Even before free agency got underway, the pickings were pretty slim if you were in the market for a quality big man. 

And with the Boston Celtics operating with a modest $4.8 million exception to offer, chances of finding a useful big decreases with each passing day. 

Even with most of the best ones off the board on Sunday, there are still some opportunities by way of free agency for the Celtics to help themselves bolster an extremely think frontcourt. 

We’re in leftover mode right now when it comes to big men, but here are four guys worth keeping an eye on who rank among  the best of what’s left on the big man market. 

ENES KANTER

Yes, he is a walking EZ Pass when it comes to playing defense. We know this about him. But there are few centers who can score with the kind of ease and consistency that he does, night-in and night-out. 

The 6-foot-10 center has shot at least 50 percent from the field in each of the last five seasons, in addition to averaging at least 6.7 rebounds per game. 

Even with all that Al Horford did during his time in Boston, Kanter is a better back-to-the-basket, low-post scorer. And for a team that will likely rely more on the long-range shot than ever, having that inside presence will create better shot opportunities on the perimeter. 

But Kanter will likely get more lucrative offers from other teams even if the Celtics could potentially offer him a prominent role in the rotation and a good amount of minutes. 

DEMARCUS COUSINS

If it were only about talent, DeMarcus Cousins would have been among the first players signed to a new deal on Sunday. But as we know, there’s more — a lot more — to Cousins than just talent. 

There are few big men with his size and strength who can score and rebound with such a high efficiency. 

He played limited minutes (25.2 per game) last season due to his recovery from an Achilles injury, and still put up respectable numbers (16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds per game).

But his sometimes fiery temper can get the best of him at times, resulting in the potential for the Celtics to have yet another season in which chemistry issues become a major talking point. 

You love the talent, but I just don’t see the Celtics rolling the dice on Cousins at this point.

KENNETH FARIED

There really hasn’t been much buzz surrounding Kenneth Faried despite the 29-year-old forward being one of the more productive frontcourt players when he plays. He is a career 11.9-point, 8.1-rebound performer despite playing an average of just 24.5 minutes per game. But Faried has seemingly had trouble sticking with one team for before seemingly finding his niche last season while appearing in 25 games (13 starts) with the Houston Rockets last season.

In that time he averaged 12.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 58.7 percent from the field -- consistent with his career averages in those respective categories. 

However, the 6-8 forward is not a 3-point threat which is evident by his 22.2 percent career three-point shooting percentage. But he is an aggressive rebounder, the kind of high-energy big that the Celtics would really benefit from coming off their bench next season. 

FRANK KAMINSKY

There’s a lot of irony to this potential marriage. Kaminsky was the player Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan wanted to select with the No. 9 pick in the 2015 draft rather than trading the pick to Boston for what would have been a boatload of Celtics draft picks so Boston would get a shot at drafting Justise Winslow (this will go down as the all-time greatest deal Danny Ainge did not pull off, for sure) who was selected by Miami with the No. 10 pick.

Charlotte did not extend Kaminsky a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. 

He is not going to do much for you when it comes to rebounding which is pretty obvious when you see he’s a career 4.0 rebounds per game player. But he’s 7-feet tall and can shoot 3’s — at least that’s what he was billed as doing when he came into the league. 

Kaminsky hasn’t set the league on fire the way many thought he could from long range, but he’s a respectable 34.9 percent 3-point shooter and connected on 36 percent of his 3’s last season. 

He would provide the Celtics another potential floor-spacer which as you look at their bigs right now, is nowhere to be found.

By no means does adding Kaminsky solve the two biggest concerns with the Celtics when it comes to bigs: defense and rebounding. 

However, getting him at a price tag that’s likely less than the $4.8 million exception the Celtics currently have, would be a potential low-risk, high-reward signing.

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Hornets likely moving on from former 2015 No. 9 pick Frank Kaminsky, a pick tied to the C's

Hornets likely moving on from former 2015 No. 9 pick Frank Kaminsky, a pick tied to the C's

During the 2015 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics desperately wanted to move up. Armed with plenty of draft capital over the course of the next few drafts, Danny Ainge and the Celtics reportedly tried to move up into the top 10. Their target in that class? Duke's Justise Winslow.

One of the teams that the Celtics engaged in trade talks with was the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets had the No. 9 pick and per Chris Forsberg (then with ESPN, now with NBC Sports Boston), the Celtics offered as many as six draft picks and four first-round picks to move up and get Winslow.

The Hornets declined. Instead, they took Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky. And four years later, they are likely regretting that decision.

Per Rod Boone of The Athletic, the Hornets are choosing not to extend a qualifying offer to Kaminsky after four seasons with the team.

Kaminsky's departure does have a minor effect on the Hornets' cap space, but the team has only $5 million in practical cap space without Kaminsky, and that's without re-signing either Kemba Walker or Jeremy Lamb. So, it's still going to be hard for Charlotte to bring back Walker and improve the team around him.

And that's a positive for the Celtics, who are rumored to be the frontrunners for Walker's services at the moment.

During his time in Charlotte, Kaminsky averaged 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. He only has shot 42 percent (35 from behind the arc) during his career.

The player the Celtics would have picked, Winslow, has averaged 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting 43 percent from the field (37 from 3-point range) while playing with the Miami Heat. He has been solid, but his talent still pales in comparison to some of the other assets that that Celtics were able to unearth with their treasure trove of assets, including Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Safe to say, it's definitely a good thing for Boston that the Celtics-Hornets deal didn't end up coming to fruition.

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