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Wednesday, the Boston Herald reported that Leon Powe believes his days in Boston have come to an end. The third-year forward was not offered a qualifying offer from the Celtics and now has become an unrestricted free agent. While I am a little sad to see Leon go, it is not an overly surprising move. With the severe knee injury he suffered, Powe is going to be out for a good length of time, estimates range from December to February on when he will be ready to play again.
The Celtics were not willing to tie up money and a roster space on a player they were uncertain would be healthy and ready to play come the start of the season. Powe was a good young player while in Boston and will be missed. He is a player who always gave it all and did things the right way. He was an important piece to a championship team and will be remembered fondly in the city.
Now where does this leave the Celtics off season plans? What it certainly does is increase the need to re-sign Glen “Big Baby” Davis. Right now the only big men under contract for the Celtics are Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, and the always lovable but rarely useful Brian Scalabrine. If the Celtics can bring back Big Baby, then they will have done a little to shore up their front court depth issues. Also, now that Powe is definitely not coming back, their No. 1 priority besides bringing back Davis must be to find another reliable backup big man.
The Celtics only have their mid-level exception available to spend so they will not be bringing in a Shaquille O’Neal or a Vince Carter caliber player. However, there are some intriguing options available. There is a crop of older veteran players who could fit in well with the Celtics including Rasheed Wallace, Joe Smith, and Antonio McDyess. If the Celtics choose to go the route of youth, there are players available like Chris Anderson, Zaza Pachullia, Drew Gooden, and Marcin Gortart to name a few. Also available are some really low cost big guys who could offer some production for little money like Sean Marks, Rasho Nesterovic, and Juwan Howard.
Whichever route the Celtics choose to take it is clear that they need to bring in an additional big man. Personally I would like to see them go after a veteran presence like Wallace or Joe Smith. Bringing someone in who can add what P.J. Brown did in 2007 would help the Celtics counter the moves by the other top Eastern Conference teams.