The next big deadline is coming up on Saturday, March 1. Players waived after that day will not be available to play in the playoffs for any team who might sign them. This may affect several players, but the biggest name being tossed around is Sam Cassell. The Celtics have 2 open roster spots and are interested in several of the players whose names are being tossed around. Let's take a look at the possibilities for the Celtics.
The most intriguing name out there is Brent Barry who was released by the Sonics after being traded there by the Spurs. Barry is a 36 year old 13 year veteran of the NBA. He is 6'7" and can handle the ball as well as shoot 43% from beyond the arc. He also shoots 95% from the free throw line. He has 2 championship rings and has played in 68 playoff games. That kind of experience would be invaluable for the Celtics. The can use his ball handling as well as his shooting to spread the floor. There are 5 teams vying for his services including the Spurs, Suns, Rockets, Mavs and Celtics. The Suns are reported to have made signing him their priority as have the Mavs and Rockets. He has spent the past 4 years in San Antonio and his family lives there so it would seem that they have the inside track, but he would have to wait 30 days before signing with them since he was just traded from there. The Spurs can also offer him the most since they still have their MLE left. The Rockets have an advantage in that they are close to home for him and the Suns are still in the West. The Celtics could be at a disadvantage in that they are the only Eastern team making an offer. And the Globe is reporting that the Spurs, Suns and Rockets are the front runners for his services with the Celtics a long shot in spite of a call from Ray Allen urging him to come to Boston.
Second in line would be Sam Cassell who has not yet been bought out. The Clippers would have to buy him out by March 1 in order for him to be eligible to play in the playoffs. Sam is 38 years old and is 6'3". He is averaging 12.8 points, 4.7 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 25.7 minutes this season for the Clippers. He has been asking for a buyout and has said that he would be a good fit in Boston, but since then the Cavaliers have also expressed interest in signing him and have said that they would give him the starting PG spot. It will come down to which team Sam thinks gives him the best chance of winning a ring. The Cavs have LeBron James and have added Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak, Joe Smith and Delonte West. They were Eastern Conference champs last season and are considered to be a contender. But the Celtics have KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and currently have the best record in the league. KG and Cassell have a history together and that may be the factor that tips the scales in the Celtics direction in spite of having to come off the bench there. But, this is all a moot point if he isn't bought out by Saturday.
Third in line is Flip Murray. He is my least favorite option at the point. He is 28 years old and also 6'3". He was put on waivers from Detroit where he was averaging 7.5 points, 3.4 assists and .7 steals in 18.2 minutes per game. He has played in Milwaukee, Seattle, Cleveland and Detroit. His shooting could be an issue as he is shooting only 41% from the field, 22% from beyond the arc and 60% from the free throw line. If Barry signs with one of the Western teams and Cassell chooses to go to the Cavs or is not bought out of his contract, then Murray would be a possibility but only if the other two are out of reach.
The Celtics have also been looking at big men. Chris "The Birdman" Anderson would be the preferred target, but is a big longshot. He has been out of the league for 2 years after testing positive for drugs. He has been working out in Las Vegas under Joe Abunassar who could get him in shape if anyone can. He has applied for reinstatement, but there is no guarantee that he will be allowed to come back. He is the first player since Roy Tarpley in 1995 to apply for reinstatement after being banned from the league. Tarply's request was denied and so it isn't positive that he will be allowed to come back. If they do reinstate him, the Hornets would have an exclusive 30 day window to sign him and since they are short on front court depth, they have already said that they intend to sign him once he is eligible.
Another name being thrown out there is Jamaal Magloire. He is 6'11" and was cut by New Jersey after averaging 1.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 10.8 minutes per game over 24 games. His best season was in 2004-2005 when he averaged 9.2 points and 9.5 rebounds, starting all 82 games for the Bucks. He is 29 years old and is in his 8th season having played for Charlotte, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Portland and New Jersey. The knock on Magloire is that he doesn't always give his best effort and in spite of his size doesn't play defense inside. Reports are that the Pistons have been going after Magloire also.
Justin Williams was waived by Sacramento and the Mavs have expressed interest in him. He has had some legal problems recently when he was charged with sexual assault. The charges were dropped because there was not enough evidence to make them stick, but the Celtics might shy away from a player who has that kind of cloud hanging over him. He is 6'10" and 23 years old and in his second season. He averaged 1.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in 5.4 minutes per game this season.
Another player who hasn't been mentioned much that could come into play is PJ Brown. He was asking for at least the MLE before the season and wasn't picked up by any teams. He hasn't retired and hasn't ruled out coming back to play down the stretch for a team. He is 38 years old and has played 14 seasons in the NBA averaging 6.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and .72 blocks last season for the Bulls. The Celtics may be a good situation where he wouldn't need to play big minutes but would be very good insurance should Perk or KG get into foul trouble.
There may be others bought out or waived by this weekend, but for now, those are the names that are out there. Brent Barry is the first choice of the Celtics but also the first choice of 4 other teams and the Celtics seem to be a long shot to land him. Cassell hasn't been bought out and in spite of saying he wanted to play for the Celtics, he could change his mind given the offer to start for the Cavs. Flip Murray would be the third choice if no others present themselves. There have been rumors that Tyronn Lue would be bought out in Sacramento but nothing definite. He would be a good choice if Plan A and B are foiled and if he is bought out. This should be an interesting week as we wait to see who is bought out and who isn't and which teams these players decide on. Hopefully Danny can be persuasive enough to bring a couple of these pieces to Boston for insurance in the playoffs. Time will tell.