The Boston Celtics are going after Corey Brewer like a Rick Pitino-coached team, which is not to say they’re going after him using Vitaly Potapenko, Andrew DeClerq and a whole slew of Kentucky players. They’re going after him with a full-court press. (ESPN)
It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that Boston is pushing as hard for Brewer as anyone, given that the Celts tried to trade for Brewer before Minnesota sent him to New York as part of the three-way Carmelo Anthony deal. Celtics president Danny Ainge and coach Doc Rivers are said to be Brewer fans and personally lobbying him. Hard.
But Boston and San Antonio, in this case, can’t compete financially with the Dallas Mavericks, who have their full mid-level exception remaining — worth just under $4 million as of Wednesday because the figure is reduced daily from its original $5.8 million at this juncture of the season — to comfortably exceed any offer the Celtics or Spurs could make.
The Celts actually have the least to pitch financially of the three teams, sitting more than $5 million over the luxury-tax threshold and limited to offering a pro-rated share of the league minimum just as they gave Murphy. With the Spurs only about $1 million away from the tax line and likewise only possessing cap exceptions worth $1.5 and $1.2 million, respectively, Dallas would appear to have a clear bidding advantage over their neighbors from the NBA elite, fitting as it might be to see Brewer wind up with the Spurs given the frequent comparisons linking Brewer to Bruce Bowen.
Fear not, though, Boston fans. Even though the Celtics don’t have as much playing time or money to offer Brewer as the two Texas teams, there might be a fallback plan: If Brewer signs somewhere else, Marc Stein says the Celtics could turn to Sasha Pavlovic. Who, it should be noted, has been rated the NBA’s absolute worst basketball player by at least one statistical measure.
With Jeff Green aboard, any player the Celtics sign for wing help would mostly serve as extra depth in the case of injury. Kelenna Azubuike was also bought out by the New York Knicks, though it’s unclear whether he’s healthy enough to provide any help. Though Azubuike shot 44.8% from downtown while adding 14.4 points per game in 2008-’09, he has played only nine games in the past two seasons. This season, he has yet to see action in a single game.
After Delonte West’s recent injury, it’s unclear whether the Celtics will look to add another point guard. Mike Bibby (notably spelled without a ‘D’) has offered a commitment to the Miami Heat, and the Heat waived Carlos Arroyo to open Bibby’s roster spot. Arroyo is not perfect for the Celtics, not by any means. But the Celtics need to decide whether they should add a veteran to spell Rajon Rondo in West’s absence, or whether they’re okay with Avery Bradley playing the freed minutes. West, who has played only eight games this year and fewer than 70 in all but one of his previous seven seasons, likely cannot be expected to play every game.