Now that we have a season once again, it comes time to fill out the roster before the start of the season. Currently the Boston Celtics have 6 able bodies under contract (Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Rondo, Jermaine O’Neal, and Avery Bradley), 1 restricted free agent (Uncle Jeff) and 1 retired veteran (Sheed) who is still costing Wyc money. The Celtics have a total of $64,377,513 tied into the 6 able bodies and $70,286,154 if they hold onto Jeff Green. This means that the Celtics will need to find 5 or 6 bodies to start the up coming shortened season.
Two spots will be easy and cheap to fill in. The Celtics have to sign the draftees JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore from this past year’s 2011 NBA Draft. Both players are four-year college starters coming out of Purdue University. I am a huge fan of these draft picks because I believe polished players fit better with veterans opposed to youth and upside. Without knowing the new rookie scale, the last year’s scale would pay JaJuan Johnson $895,700, $962,900, and $1,030,100 through his first three years. Jeremy Evans was last year’s 55th overall pick for the Utah Jazz, his salary being $473,604 and $788,872 over the first two years. We are looking at cheap money for these young guys to help Danny’s shortened offseason.
We will jump to conclusions that the Celtics will bring back Jeff Green for at least this one more year. He fits their needs as he can play many positions and then the Celtics will only need to acquire 3 more players. Looking at the roster, we will see exactly where the team needs to fill the holes.
Point Guard: Rajon Rondo , Avery Bradley
Shooting Guard: Ray Allen, E’Twaun Moore
Small Forward: Paul Pierce, Jeff Green
Power Forward: Kevin Garnett, JaJuan Johnson
Center: Jermaine O’Neal
It didn’t take long to figure out that the Celtics need depth at Center and Power Forward. Jermaine O’Neal has built a new reputation of being half-a-man / half-a-season. He cannot stay healthy long enough to play center every day, even in a shortened year. Next looking at the power forward, we have one of the best ever to play in Kevin Garnett, but he is on his last leg. Playing behind him will be a player playing his first NBA season, talk about opposite ends of the spectrum. Let’s hop into the free agent waters with both feet to see who is available to fill the team’s voids.
Hilton Armstrong, Josh Powell, Glen Davis, Troy Murphy, Brian Scalabrine, Brian Cardinal, Kenyon Martin, Chris Wilcox, Josh McRoberts, Craig Smith, Joe Smith, Leon Powe, Dan Gadzuric, Kris Humphries-Kardashian, Brandan Wright, Carl Landry, David West, Jared Jeffries, Shawne Williams, Sheldon Williams, Malik Allen, Darius Songaila, Julian Wright, Joey Dorsey, Reggie Evans, Andrei Kirilenko
Jason Collins, Etan Thomas, Nenad Krstic, Kwame Brown, Joel Przybilla, Kurt Thomas, Tyson Chandler, Nene, Chuck Hayes, Yao Ming (kidding), Jeff Foster, Theo Ratliff, Erick Dampier, Juwan Howard, Jamaal Magloire, Aaron Gray, D.J. Mbenga, Tony Battie, Samuel Dalembert, Kyrylo Fesenko, Francisco Elson
Not exactly the most flattering group of players to pick from but it will have to do unless Danny has some secret foreign players he has been scouting behind our backs. Any who, the first question will be whether to bring back baby Shaq, aka Big Baby, aka Glen Davis. Forget last year’s playoffs for a moment, Glen Davis has been a good fit for this roster. In 2009, he produced well enough to help the Celtics overachieve with the injury to Garnett. He might be a bit of a baby off the court and sometimes on (ie. Crying on the court). I think the Celtics bring him back at the right cost. If Davis is receiving other offers to great to match, then cut the losses and move on.
I would like to keep the salary cap low with one year deals to help position the team post big three, when Rondo is looking for a partner or two to fight the Knicks, Heat and Thunder. I don’t think this roster needs as many veterans as they had in 2008 because a short season will require young legs for the grueling season. Always believe in a player who has to play for something, which is why I would love them to bring back Leon Powe. Being familiar with the team and city, Leon plays the game the right way. Fitting in would not be a question anyone would need to ask in terms of bringing the old fan favorite back to the Garden.
For the other one or two spots left, depending on how they handle the Jeff Green and Glen Davis situations, I would like to see a center or two. The best option might be Samuel Dalembert, with his ability to get up and down the court and his defensive ability. His cost might be too much which is why I don’t see the Celtics getting him. The next tier of centers I want to target is Jason Collins and Joel Przybilla. I love big centers to provide muscle and size in the paint to protect Kevin Garnett from taking abuse. The last player I would like to see in a Celtics uniform is Chuck Hayes, he would come cheap and would love to play for a championship hopeful since his Rockets team fell apart. All of these guys would come at veteran minimums.
This would be my plan to fill out the roster in the 17 days that teams are allowed to. Either way, it is great to finally get basketball back and I have zero doubt that Danny Ainge has not been working this whole time. He might even have all the contracts he plans to offer written and signed by ownership while waiting in line at Fedex. It’s good to have basketball back.