The Celtics Have A Glaring Hole On Their Roster So Here’s How Brad Stevens Can Address It

What is the current hole? Quite easy. secure center.

Listen, Daniel Theis isn’t perfect, but he’s damn tall. Especially on this team considering how they play and the chemistry he had with everyone. Since he was traded to the Pacers, Brad was looking for a replacement. It’s not Luke Kornet, although he came back with a cheap deal. They need a rotary caliber player who, in theory, can actually help. We all know that Al is getting older and I don’t think the lighting can be relied on to catch twice. My guess is that there will finally be a normal regression of aging combined with Ime looking for ways to keep his minutes down. With Rob, we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that his health will hold up, but that’s certainly no guarantee. You might have to adjust to routes without him.

At the beginning of free agency, there was news that center Thomas Bryant was deciding between the Celts and the Lakers. This is the kind of minimum contract player you want to roll the dice with. He’s been injured for the past two years but when he’s been healthy there’s been a real performance there. Unfortunately we received this message last night

Rough. I mean I get it we are talking about equal money between the two with one side probably lying to you that you will start and the other being honest and saying you will be the backup center and the third big but You could win a title. Bryant chose the role path, which I can understand, because with a good year he might cash in next summer. However.

Here’s the immediate problem now. Have you seen the free agent center market? It’s dark as shit

I’m not doing the Tristan Thompson experience again. I put my foot on that. If the goal is to get a minimum salary player, there is your list. You might not like it, but that’s the deal. Who on this list really stands out for you? For me it’s probably Dwight or Boogie. I don’t like that I had to type that sentence, but again that’s the reality we’re working with right now.

With Dwight, he sort of transitioned into this big reserve role, so I wouldn’t really worry about that. He’s still an effective rebounder, which is nice, but offensively there’s basically nothing except some lobs or offensive putbacks.

With Boogie, I like the age, I like the offense while also accepting that it’s not great defensively. Some might even say bad. I know he’s got a reputation and all that shit, but you know what? I’m pretty sure I can handle it. Why? Because Ime will fight Boogie. When was the last time Boogie had a coach legitimately ready to prostrate? Exactly. He wasn’t even bad as a nugget last year either!

We’re talking about a 3rd Big here. There will be no player without flaws. In his limited appearances in this year’s playoffs, he gave the Nuggets 10/3/1 in 11 minutes a night with 65/66% splits. Yes, it is cooked in space. But Theis too. At least Boogie had 30% DREB% and 22.3% REB% overall. That’s more than good enough for me for this role. He can also take a step back and hit some open threes, which is always nice to have.

Also, Boogie has been talked about as a target for about 10 years, so it would be cool to finally see it.

A free hand is certainly not Brad’s only path. He has 3 TPEs to work with but after the Brogdon move the team made it pretty clear that the Fournier TPE is out. Fine. I suppose that could always change, but I wouldn’t bet on it. There are some smaller ones for 6m and under that could possibly fill that need but the only problem with that is you just traded all your colleagues at the end of the bank so you really only have guys like Pritchard/Grant to move, which isn’t exactly the case is something I think Brad will do for a third big one. Maybe you can get it done with just a few second round picks, so who fits those TPEs in the middle anyway? Naz Reid of Wolves ($1.9M)? Maybe they want to get out of a center for picks since they just traded a billion picks for a center. The Kings’ Alex Len ($3.9 million)? I’m also not sure if he’s worth the fortune/taxes.

If Wyc and property are really okay with having a massive, massive tax bill, the Fournier TPE could be in play I suppose. That gives them a lot more options in terms of player/salary like Jakob Poeltl, Kelly Olynyk, Dwight Powell etc. There are some expiring deals so the price for picks might be up for grabs but with all these guys a balance comes a bigger Tax bill that’s already at $60 million or some shit. It’s not my money so I don’t care, I’m just not sure how realistic that path is right now.

That’s legitimate. When you look at centers making around 6 million or less, the list tends to be pretty rough. At this point just sign a guy like Boogie for the minimum costing you 0 assets and hope your culture/team situation gets the best of him.

There’s also a chance someone like Trevion Williams could have a great Summer League and find their way onto the list, which would be great. It’s not enough either. You can have that AND add a vet at least big. That’s what Brad needs to do. I’m just sitting here looking at the landscape in the middle and it’s not as robust as you might think. So while each and every one of us does the Brogdon trade 100 times out of 100, I wonder what their plan was for the Theis replacement. Is it just more Grant minutes? At 6’10, is Gallo the big backup stand-in?

If it’s me, I’ll take a chance on Boogie. Why not? If it doesn’t work out, just let him go on the deadline or something. We’ve seen Brad take this route before (see: Dennis Schroder). At this point you just have to take what you can get given what’s actually available and he might be the best of the bunch that’s left that doesn’t cost you design capital or a hefty salary.

So what will Brad do? Who the hell knows. This man is as unpredictable as it gets. He operates in silence, so it’s anyone’s guess. All I know is looking at this list and it’s pretty obvious where the hole is at the moment and that needs to be addressed by October.

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