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After the Celtics saw one of their best defenders on the roster jet to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Celtics have turned their attention to Josh Howard.
According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics have a “serious interest” in the one-time Dallas Maverick.
This off-season certainly hasn’t been a quiet one for the 2009-2010 Eastern Conference Champions. Not only has the organization re-signed two of their Big Three in both Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, but they have also re-signed bench players Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels, along with the signing of Jermaine O’Neal.
With fellow Eastern Conference teams adding big-time free agents, the Celtics have fallen on the back burner, with many anaylists pegging Boston as the fourth or fifth best team in the conference.
The Celtics are now exhausting the possibility of adding the 30-year-old small forward to the roster.
Howard tore his ACL after playing in just four games with the Washington Wizards after the team acquired him via trade. In June, the Wizards declined Howard’s option, which stood at $11.8 million. At the start of free agency, Howard remained hopeful that he would be ready for the regular season.
Still, almost a month into free agency, the 2007 All-star is without a job.
The Celtics are one of just six teams interested in signing Howard, but the Chicago Bulls and Celtics appears to be the only teams that have serious interest.
Howard has enjoyed success throughout his career in Dallas. Howard recorded his best season in 2007-2008, scoring 20 points and hauling in seven rebounds per game. However, since then Howard’s production has begun to slide. Last season, Howard averaged a mere 12.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest.
Still, the 6’7” Howard could potentially bring a lot to the table for the Celtics.
With Tony Allen leaving, the Celtics desperately need a player to spell Pierce off the bench. In the past, Howard has relished in the role has the fourth, fifth, or even sixth option. For the Celtics, having an experienced three like Howard on the floor with other role players like Robinson, Glen Davis, and O’Neal could give the Celtics a solid bench like they had back in 2007.
Although his shooting range doesn’t stretch out to the perimeter, Howard would do a lot of the things former Celtic James Posey did for the club. Howard is an underrated defender, who can knock down the 15 to 18 foot jump shot on a regular basis.
Howard, of course, is coming off an ACL injury, so it will be uncertain on when or how effective he will be when he comes back. It’s also unclear how much Howard is looking for. Will Howard bite his ego and realize he isn’t the player he was in 2007, and take the league minimum? Or will Howard still think he’s a guy who can make $10 million dollars a year?
There’s a lot of questions toward Howard, but the Celtics appear to be willing to find the answers.