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The Boston Celtics are almost certainly not expecting a lively NBA offseason in 2022.
At least not in free hand.
That’s a good thing, too, because this could be a championship line-up as it is. However, if the front office is not convinced of this, they have to seek help in the trade market, since their hands are usually tied at free hand.
Boston will have the mid-level taxpayer exemption and the veterans minimum money to spend on free agents. This basically gives the Shamrocks a chance to find an Impact roleplayer.
The following three players could be candidates for that middle money.
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Assuming the Celtics are still looking for another ballhandler after their deadline deal for Derrick White, Ricky Rubio could end up in the Shamrocks’ crosshairs.
Yes, he’s 31 years old and working his way back from a cruciate ligament rupture, but that’s the only reason he might fit Boston’s budget.
Before the injury, he was busy shaking up the Cleveland Cavaliers with his signature defense and distribution. His career-high 13.1 points per game was the icing on the cake.
He’s not the shooting menace Boston could really use, but that’s the only way you can be picky when shopping at the clearance bin.
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One way to stretch Boston’s budget is to take some risk.
TJ Warren has dressed four times in the last two seasons combined for stress fractures in his left foot. Any team that signs him will take some risk, though his foot reportedly healed late in the season — long after the Indiana Pacers went down the Eastern Conference table, according to ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski.
If Warren is really sane (or can get there sooner or later), he could be a bargain for the mini-mid-level exception.
Between 2017-18 and 2019-20, he averaged more than 18 points on more than 48 percent shooting each season. He also implemented more than 40 percent of his triples in the latter two. The Celtics need more wings that can splash and defend from long range, and a healthy Warren checks both boxes.
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If the Celtics are focused on improving their forward depth, they should be impressed by Otto Porter Jr.’s first (and possibly final) season with the Golden State Warriors.
Tucked into a complementary role, Porter has fitted seamlessly into the system as a versatile defender, long-range shooter and willing passer.
His 8.2 points per game doesn’t catch the eye, but every level of his 46.4/37.0/80.3 shooting slash is remarkable. His career-high 9.3 rebounds per 36 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference.com, also underscores his effectiveness as a small-ball center for tempo changes.
If Porter’s checkered injury history keeps his next contract in check, the Celtics might be wise to be the ones offering him.