Now that James Posey has made his decision and moved on to the Hornets, the Celtics need to make a move to fill their bench once again. At this point last season, everyone was talking about the Celtics weak bench and the need to fill the back up positions and we are back in the very same position this year. We have the starting 5 in place and if anything, they should be better than last season with both Perk and Rondo having another season of experience under their belts. Ray Allen came into last season after having double ankle surgery in the offseason and he should start out much stronger than he did last season. They have 2 promising rookies who are both known for their athleticism and defense. They also have Big Baby Davis, Leon Powe, and Gabe Pruitt who will all be another year better. They just signed Patrick O'Bryant to back up Perk in the center and he has a lot of potential but is also a question mark at this point. So, who is left out there to fill the blanks at the wing positions off the bench?
Tony Allen 6'4" 26 years old 6.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 18.4 mpg The most obvious would be to resign Tony Allen on a 2 year league minimum contract. He didn't make a great impression on the league last season so I don't imagine he will be offered much more than that by another team. He's a potent slasher who can get to the rim thanks to a quick first step, and he's a thunderous finisher in transition. Like Posey, Tony excels on the defensive end of the court. Tony's athleticism makes him a very strong defender. The Celtics can re-sign him without using the MLE by using his Bird rights or a minimum contract. Matt Barnes 6'7" 28 years old Matt Barnes might be the free agent with the closest skill set to what the Celtics lost in James Posey. He is a hustle defender who can guard the 2, 3 or 4 and he can also hit big shots. His shooting draws big men away from the basket in the half court, and he handles the ball well enough to be a point forward at times. His toughness is valuable and his activity in the passing lanes makes him a threat to steal the ball. I think Danny can get him for a portion of the MLE just as he did Posey last season. Barnes would be my first choice along with a combination of Tony Allen and another player or two. Eddie House 6'1" 30 years old 7.5 ppg, 1.9 apg, .8 spg House wants to come back to Boston, but he wants more than the 1.5 million he got last year along with a longer contract than one year. House knows the system, played well last season and bought into ubuntu, never complaining when his minutes were cut and coming up with big shots in the playoffs. He is instant offense off the bench and can handle the point guard duties effectively. Danny shouldn't overpay for House, but if he can get him back for a reasonable contract, he should go for it.
Maurice Evans 6'5" 29 years old 8.9 ppg, 1.1 apg, 3.1 rpg He can hit 3-pointers from the corner and will pull up from 17 off the dribble going to his left, plus he's a good rebounder for his size.Evans is a stay-at-home defender who rarely gambles for steals, but his size can be a negative when he's used at small forward. He's a poor dribbler but is strong and quite athletic. He'll throw down jams on the break but isn't as good in the halfcourt. Jannero Pargo 6'1" 28 years old 8.1 ppg, 2.4 apg, .6 spg With the signing of Posey, Pargo may have become more expendable. He hit some big shots in the playoffs for them and may have improved his stock. He has been mentioned as a target by several teams. He's quick and a decent shooter, so he can be very tough to guard when he gets rolling, but he isn't a great ball handler and tends to get called for carrying the ball at least once or twice a game. Defensively, Pargo struggles, which may eliminate him as a target for the Celtics as they built their team around defense last season. His lack of both size and strength makes him easy prey for opposing guards to post up, plus he gambles a too much. His quickness is an asset against fast guards, but on most nights he's a liability.
Chris Andersen 6'10" 30 years old 1.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, .8 bpg Andersen is another player who may have become much more available with the signing of Posey. The Celtics have shown interest in him and he was in Boston for 2 days working out and talking with the Celtics. He should be available for the minimum or slightly above. He can back up the 4 and 5 and can defend the 3, 4 and 5 because of his sizes and athleticism.
Stephon Marbury 6'1" 31 years old 13.9 ppg, 4.7 apg, .9 spg Marbury seems to be the odd man out in New York and there are reports that the Knicks will buy out the remainder of his contract. He has mentioned that he would like to play in Boston and KG has mentioned that they had a good relationship in Minny when they played there together. Pierce has mentioned that the Knicks should cut Marbury because he would fit better with a veteran team. Marbury isn't as explosive as he was in his prime, but he still is one of the strongest drivers in the league when going to his right. Marbury has improved his catch-and-shoot game the past couple seasons and his high-arcing 3-point shot has to be respected. Defensively, Marbury has the strength to handle matching up against shooting guards in a small backcourt. He does a reasonable job staying in front of point guards too. Marbury wouldn't do anything to replace Posey, but he could replace Cassell and House. The question with him would be attitude, but with KG on his case, that shouldn't be a problem in Boston. He also may sign for the minimum if NY gives him enough in his buyout.
Ricky Davis 6'7", 31 years old 13.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.4 apg Ricky was one of my favorite players when he was in Boston. There were reports of his being a problem, but only after he was gone. Davis is one of the best midrange shooters in the league. He's absolutely deadly from 15 feet off the curl, especially on the left side of the court. He's also a very good passer.Davis locks in when guarding the ball, especially if it's a big-time scorer, but away from the play he tends to lose focus, not to mention his man. I doubt Danny would go for RickyD part 2, but he is an option and wouldn't be a bad one either.
Quentin Ross 6'6" 27 years old 4.1 ppg, 1.2 apg, 43% 3P% Ross was all but useless offensively in his first two pro seasons, relying solely on his defensive skills to earn his playing time. But he has become more of an offensive threat, shooting 43% from beyond the arc last season. Ross' outstanding agility makes him one of the league's best defensive stoppers. He's not quite in the elite category because of physical limitations -- he's 6-6 so some bigger players can shoot over him, and at 193 pounds he's not as good in post defense as he is on the perimeter. However, he's great at staying in front of people and manages to be a pest at the same time -- he ranked in the top 20 at his position in both blocks and steals per minute. He would very likely sign for the minimum.
Trenton Hassell 6'5" 29 years old 2 ppg, 1.3 rpg, .7 apg Hassell is a tough defender who does his best work against taller players. He's a good leaper who gets up to challenge shots even against 6-9 or 6-10 opponents, plus he has good quickness and a stopper's mentality. He never gambles -- he had the worst rate of steals per minute at his position -- but instead relies on his ability to challenge shots. Offensively, he is a liability. He can make the midrange shot when open, but shouldn't be counted on to make the big shots that Posey did. But, he would fill the hole left on defense that Posey's departure leaves.
Bonzi Wells 6'5" 31 years old 9.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.3 apg One of the strongest guards in the league, Wells is nominally a shooting guard but prefers to play around the basket. He's tough to guard on the blocks, where he likes to shoot a high-arcing turn around jumpers. He is a very good rebounder and his rebound rate ranked first among all guards two seasons ago. He's not a good long-range shooter, however, shooting only 33% from beyond the arc for his career. Defensively, Wells has great anticipation that helps him to a very high steals rate. But he's also 31 and has had multiple knee surgeries, so beating him off the dribble isn't much of a challenge for quicker guards. As a result, Wells rarely guards top scorers and instead looks to intercede off the ball.
There are more, but this gives hope that the Celtics can land a few good players who can give them the same qualities on the court that James Posey did. There are restricted free agents such as Josh Smith and Josh Childress, and Ryan Gomes who would be a great fit, but they are likely to demand much more than the Celtics are looking to spend and their teams would probably match any offer the Celtics could make. I think there are enough talented players out there that will give the Celtics a bench just as good if not better than last season. Now it is up to Danny to put Plan B into effect and find the right players at the right price.