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|The C’s could use a veteran point guard like Gary Payton, above, to help starter Rajon Rondo develop. (Photo Courtesy of NBA.com)|
When Celtics GM Danny Ainge pulled the trigger on two major trades designed to put the C’s over the edge, he ended up severely depleting his bench. Boston acquired guard Ray Allen and forward Kevin Garnett for eight players: Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Delonte West, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, Wally Szczerbiak, Gerald Green and the #5 NBA draft choice, Jeff Green. That left the Celtics with just nine players signed for next season (the NBA minimum for active players is 12).
Soon after the Garnett deal, Ainge signed his two 2007 second-round draft choices (former USC point guard Gabe Pruitt and former LSU forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis.) With only 11 active players, Ainge dipped into the FA pool, and snatched versatile guard Eddie House and veteran center Scot Pollard.
Still, the Celtics could use another big man to help center Kendrick Perkins, and perhaps a veteran point guard to help the development of second-year man Rajon Rondo. Some could argue that House would be that guy to help Rondo, but House is more of a shooter than a passer, and gives the C’s a lethal 3-point option off the bench. Pollard, while big, does not have enough skill to be the backup center for Perkins, who usually gets into foul trouble way too early.
Thus, still with the ability to sign players to veteran minimum contracts, and a few million dollars left on their mid-level exception, the C’s still have a few options out there. Why not go after a guy like P.J. Brown, who played last season with the Bulls? He would provide some serious muscle up front, with the ability to rebound on both ends of the court. Brown also has the ability to score in the post, something that Perkins is still working on. Signing Brown would take pressure off Garnett, so he wouldn’t have to do everything in the paint.
NBC Sports’ Frank Isola reports that Brown is considering retirement, along with offers from several teams looking to add size. “P.J. Brown may want to put off those retirement plans. There are many teams — Boston, Phoenix, Dallas, Orlando — that could use a veteran big man who can rebound and defend.”
Brown himself said: “Everything is up in the air. I haven’t decided anything yet.”
And while the Celtics are talking free agents, why don’t they take a look at former C’s point guard Gary Payton? He’s won his title (with the Heat in 2006), and provides the C’s with many years of playoff experience. While he may be 39 years old, he still has great court vision and is a serviceable shooter if need be. Last year he made just $744,551, which is well below the league average. The C’s can definitely afford to take a gamble on GP, and GP has nothing to lose with signing with Boston.