The Celtics have a big problem this offseason. Ok, so it looks like I was wrong in saying Kemba Walker to Boston is “not happening”. What’s the big problem? If Walker plays his home games at the TD Garden, it will cost the C’s a lot. Max money to be exact, which means filling out the roster will feature NBA Bargain shopping for the center position. Nikola Vucevic would be out of the picture once Kemba puts pen to paper, so what are some viable options?
- Robert Williams: This would be a long shot, break glass in case of emergency situation. Williams is already under contract, but he has only played 8.8 minutes per game. Again a long shot, but so wasn’t St. Louis winning the Stanley Cup.
- Enes Kanter: Looking at some legitimate options for a starting center for the C’s, Kanter features an interesting look. This is a big man that would probably look for $6-10 million but would give you a potential double-double threat. In the postseason for the Trailblazers, Kanter averaged. 11.4 ppg with 9.6 rebounds per game.
- Brook Lopez: Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon are free agents, so if Milwaukee wants them, they would have to dump some money which means Mr. Lopez could be made available. Yes, he’s on the wrong side of 30, but he is an athletic center for someone his age. Averaging about 11 ppg would be a negative if your team didn’t have a bunch of wing shooters to make up for any offensive firepower.
- Willie Cauley-Stein: This is my pick for the C’s starting center. Cauley-Stein’s agent says it’s time for the King’s big man to move on. He is a restricted free agent so the Celtics could do a sign and trade to make the salaries manageable. The 7 footer can run the floor and likes playing that style which the Celtics can certainly play. It would be interesting to see what he would do on a team in contention for a top-four spot in the east. Again, it would take some maneuvering but it could pay off.
Julius Randle: Career high 21.4 ppg with New Orleans, but could be looking for a hefty payday
Dewayne Dedmon: Averaged 10.8 ppg with Atlanta, missed last three months with ankle injury
Greg Monroe, Jahlili Okafor, Boban Marjanovic: Potential backup centers, low risk/high reward?
Then we have Clint Capela. The Houston Rockets Center has been rumored to be involved in a trade. Whether it’s Houston-Boston, or a three team trade with the C’s, Rockets and the 76er’s. Capela would be a tremendous fit in the garden. Averaging a double-double in the regular season and almost the same in the postseason would put the hometown team in the top three in the east with Kemba in the lineup as well. With Capela’s contract, however, the Celtics offseason would essentially be done. League minimum contracts would be all the team could sign, or in a three-team deal, Boston would have to give up a player and most likely acquire a contract that would be eventually dumped.
Regardless of what the Celtics do at the five spot, the team is going to have to watch the cap and the roster spots, especially with four rookies.
-John Luck @jluck_89