Sheed’s retiring, Perk’s hurt and Shelden Williams may not be walking through that door next season. As such, the Celtics will need to use free agency to bolster a frontcourt unit that — if the season were to start tomorrow — would have Luke Harangody as the first big off the bench.
Let’s just say the C’s need some frontcourt help pretty badly. And by “they need some frontcourt help pretty badly,” I mean “if the Celtics don’t pick up at least one legitimate big man in free agency, they have as much chance of winning next year’s NBA title as Brian Scalabrine does of being a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
Here’s a list of veterans the Celtics could use to bolster their size for next year (young blood coming tomorrow or the next day):
Brad Miller (Note: Miller is reportedly the C’s number one target)
I know, I know: Celtics fans hate Brad Miller. I also know that Miller graduated first in his class from the Zydrunas Ilgauskas Academy of Speed. But he knows how to play, he’s a tough dude, and he’s got the size and skill to be a legitimate backup for Perk next season.
Shaq-tis wasn’t the answer in Cleveland, but the Celtics wouldn’t need him to be a starter (at least, not once Kendrick Perkins returns from his injury… whenever that may be). The Big Diesel can still score and rebound, but his pick-and-roll defense is somewhere between miserable and destructive.
There’s not a lot to dislike about Haslem: He knows his role, splashes midrange jumpers, and crashes the glass. My only qualm with a potential Haslem signing is that the Celtics may need more size. In the NBA, length kills. As of right now, the C’s have a backup power forward but no backup center.
Physically, a perfect backup center. Seven feet tall, strong as an ox, and pretty mobile to boot. Listen to The Two Man Game’s description of Haywood (that’s a Mavericks blog, for those who don’t know): “Haywood is a franchise center. He’s a capable big that can catch and finish, he’s a top-notch interior defender, and he helps well.” Sounds good to me. The only problem is, the Celtics might not be able to get Hayward, even if they want to use their full mid-level exception on him: Mark Cuban is known to pay his centers a little more than market value.
Slow, slower, slowest. Still, despite footspeed that even Michael Sweetney frowns upon, Ilgauskas can play. He can stroke the basketball, he knows his limitations, and he’s a solid positional defender. But does he have anything left in the tank?
Two words: The playoffs. Another two words: Walking corpse. Last two words: Please, no.
The perfect Scal replacement, except with a little more game… and a less pear-shaped body.
Gooden is still a solid player, stats-wise. But there’s just something about him that gives me pause. He was always beefing with Lebron and other teammates in Cleveland, is a bit selfish offensively and, as the Cleveland sports blog Waiting for Next Year put it, “His defensive lapses are legendary in this city.” I want 10 points and 8 boards a game, but not if it comes with the term “his defensive lapses are legendary in this city.”
Just in case Danny Ainge wants to sign one of the biggest busts in NBA history.
Any time the best argument you can make to sign a player is “he’s not THAT bad,” you would hope not to sign him to anything more than the veteran’s minimum.
Smith is washed up and no longer capable of playing a supporting role on a contender… and that was a year and a half ago.
Frye has a player option at $2.1 million, but one would have to assume he’ll opt out. If he does, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. What Frye lacks in toughness, he makes up for in three-point shooting ability.
If you’re Wyc Grousbeck, is it worth it to spend the veteran’s minimum just to play a prank on your entire fanbase?
Can’t Ainge sign Kwame, O’Bryant and Milicic and — once they all pan out like everyone KNEW they were going to — the Celtics will have the best frontcourt on earth?
Wallace is a former Defensive Player of the Year. He has also lost at least a couple dozen steps and couldn’t score 10 points if you left him alone, in a gym, for 20 hours.
If the Celtics want to kick some judo ass, they’ll sign Mbenga to a max contract. If they want to win basketball games, not so much.
Older than my grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother but, somehow, still effective.
The only player on this list who might be as old as Juwan Howard. Still, you get the feeling Kurt will be able to defend the post even when he’s in a wheelchair. Which would kinda give new meaning to the term “pull the chair.”
Not only has he underperformed his entire career, but he’s now the old underacheiver who isn’t as talented as he one was and also spewed racial slurs that began a chair-tossing brawl at Denny’s (yes, that Denny’s). Whew, that was a mouthful.
Threatening to buy the naming right to the Zydrunas Ilgauskas Academy of Speed.
For a list of all free agents, and to see if I missed any, click here.