Celtics general manager Danny Ainge (left) has money to play with for the first time since assembling the new Big Three in the summer of 2007. Ainge has $30.5 million committed to Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, and JaJuan Johnson, and that's it. That leaves plenty of cash to sign other players and fill out the roster. Some of that money could be used on the team's existing free agents like Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Brandon Bass, but the Celtics are likely to pursue talent from other teams when free agency opens on July 1.
Being that the center position is something that needs to be addressed bigtime (pun intended) and the unlikelyhood we would/could/should get Perk back, I would prefer getting an already seasoned big man versus drafting big and hoping it pans out in the more immediate future.
Hibbert tops my list personally. Here's a look at some options I think are the best.
2011-2012 statistics: 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2 blocks
Hibbert is the cream of the free-agent crop this summer, and a big man is Boston's biggest need. Hibbert is a skilled big man who would make Celtics fans forget all about Kendrick Perkins. He's also likely to be expensive, and the Pacers have the right to match any offer given to the restricted free agent. If the Celtics sign Hibbert long-term, they would be investing most if not all of their extra cash on the Indiana big man.
The Celtics reportedly had a deal in place to send Ray Allen to Memphis in exchange for Mayo at the trade deadline, but the trade never materialized. The Grizzlies have a $7.4 million option for Mayo next season, and they've got a lot of money tied up in other players. Mayo could be available, and he could be a good 6th man and running mate for Rajon Rondo. More athletic than Allen at this point in his career, Mayo is not as good of a long-distance shooter as Allen.
Nice combo guard. Wouldnt mind having him in Boston but would have to accept a role that backs up Rondo and Avery.
If the Celtics can't re-sign Brandon Bass, Landry would be a good replacement. Landry only played 41 games last season due to injury, but when healthy he's a Bass clone, a solid big man who can step out and hit a jump shot. He made $9 million last season -- Bass made $4 million -- and in order to land in Boston he'd probably have to make something slightly less.
Big fan of Landry and would definitely be a positive for the C's, but big price tag may be too out of the C's budget.
Maybe it's because he plays in Milwaukee, or maybe it's because the Turkish national is unfamiliar to American basketball fans, but Ilyasova quietly had a monster season for the Bucks. Ilyasova made $2.5 million last season, but there's no way he doesn't double or triple that in a long-term deal with some team this summer. If Kris Humphries gets $8 or $9 million a season, so should Ilyasova.
Very nice shooter who quietly helped shoulder the scoring load for the Bucks. Solid young guy I would love on the C's.
Could you have imagined a situation a few years ago where Celtics fans would actually be interested in bringing Gerald Green back to Boston? The team's former first-round pick flamed out with the Celtics and had a rocky road back to NBA relevance, but he caught on with the Nets last season and had some success. Green has the talent to be a scorer and the size to be a decent wing defender, if only he can finally put it all together.
An old draft pick who could leap outta of the gym but ended up leaping out of the league due to poor development in other aspects of his game that were lacking. Has come back for the Nets with a solid stat line. Seems to have developed more and is willing to keep working. Might be worth a look to help with the SF problems spotting Pierce.
2011-2012 statistics: 4.9 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.4 blocks
If it seems like a long time ago that Marcus Camby played at UMass, it's because it is. Camby has played 16 seasons in the NBA, and while his best days are behind him, he's proven he can still be effective, particularly in the rebounding and shot-blocking departments. He also fits Danny Ainge's mold of a player at the end of his career that could come at a discount.
Old vet who has the D that Doc likes in a big. Would immediately help out in the paint.
The Timberwolves have a decision to make on the $8.1 million qualifying offer they have on Beasley, who was the highest-paid player on an up-and-coming team last season. Beasley didn't merit that kind of money with his play this season, and he could be a free agent available for less than that money. He's a big forward who is a gifted scorer, but consistency and off-court questions have dropped his value. If the Celtics don't take a risk on Beasley, some contender will.
Big NBA body that could fill up some serious matchup problems at the PF. If KG doesnt come back could be worth a serious look.
If Deron Williams is the cream of the free-agent crop, Batum may be the second guy. He fits better with what the Celtics are trying to build around Rajon Rondo, and he'd be a great backup to Paul Pierce before eventually taking over Pierce's role. Batum is an efficient scorer and a good 3-point shooter. He's a restricted free agent, and at just 23 years old, Portland would be stupid not to lock him up. But if he's available the Celtics should make a run at him.
Great shooter in Batum not too mention his D. Would be a real nice fit for a team to add more depth.
You can put Crawford in the electric-scorers-off-the-bench category as well. He's a shooter with height, a player who can get his shot off over just about anyone. You can imagine a scenario where the Celtics start Rondo and Avery Bradley in the backcourt, then bring in a player like Crawford for a different look off the bench.
Very explosive I've always liked Jamal and for the right price would be a huge pickup considering he can play 1, 2 and 3.
2009-2010 statistics: 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds (21 games)
There may not be a more star-crossed player than the former No. 1 pick. Kevin Durant's recent success (Durant was picked after Oden) doesn't help. Oden hasn't played since the 2009-10 season, and he's recovering from his fifth knee surgery in five seasons. Oden might not be ready to play until January, and he's more than risky. However, the upside on Oden could be huge, provided he can give a team anything. The Celtics should in no way make Oden their No. 1 choice, but he's worth a look.
Worth a look at Oden if his knees can hold up, could be a steal.