The Celtics stood pat at the trade deadline and decided that no moves needed to be made. While they didn’t make a move in terms of a trade, the buyout market is somewhere the Celtics are expected to be players in. This team has a surplus of guard/wing players but they’re a bit thin up front. On the roster they currently have Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Daniel Theis, Robert Williams, and Guerschon Yabusele as their bigs. Horford, Baynes, and Theis are all reliable pieces but it wouldn’t hurt to get some more depth up front. We’ve seen front court depth be an issue for this team as Horford’s been out for a stretch and Baynes has missed a bunch of games. Williams has potential but due to his poor defensive positioning and just overall understanding of the offense, I don’t see him as a reliable option down the stretch nor in the playoffs. We’re seeing this lack of depth hurt the Celtics as traditional bigs like Montrezl Harrell, Ivica Zubac, Javale McGee, Steven Adams, etc. have all given the Celtics fits lately. Having an extra guy off the bench to throw at players like that would be a luxury. Here are some guys I think would be a good fit for the Celtics and players we should keep our eyes on in the meantime.
Lopez has been rotting in Chicago all year long and it’s been a weird year for the veteran big man as he’s wanted a buyout, but the Bulls were insistent on holding onto him as a trade asset. He’s still on the Bulls today and has said recently that he won’t “rock the boat” with his buyout demands. Who knows if he’ll actually be bought out, but expect a number of teams to be interested if he is.
The draw for Lopez is his size (7 feet 275 pounds), coupled with a soft touch around the basket, and ability to be effective as a screener. The role he plays with Chicago is similar to how the Celtics use their bigs. Dribble hand offs, pick and roll, and finding guys from the high post are just a few of the qualities Lopez possesses, but are the most important to the green. After doing so much of this in Chicago, Lopez shouldn’t have an issue fitting in. While he’s a non-shooter (9-38 in his career from 3), the fit is there and he could be a nice addition to the Celtics if he is bought out.
(He also beats up opposing players AND mascots, what a model citizen for Boston)
Kanter was bought out by the Knicks four days ago and figures to be in the mix for Boston.
Kanter is less of a fit but he provides something the Celtics don’t currently have off of their bench. A rebounding big man who can create their own offense in the paint. Baynes is more of a pick and roller/popper while Theis fits this same bill offensively.
Kanter has averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds (15th in the NBA) this season in a limited role for the Knicks. 3.9 of those 10.5 rebounds are offensive which ranks 5th in the league this season up with some of the league’s best rebounders. He eats glass at a high rate and as we’ve seen the Celtics struggle against rebounding bigs, Kanter could help counter them.
He leaves a lot to be desired on defense as he’s more of a revolving door than a lock and key on that end. The Celtics have enough defensive help where Stevens could find minutes for Kanter where he isn’t asked of much on defense. Stevens was able to effectively hide Isaiah Thomas on defense for 2.5 seasons, I’m sure he could do the same for Kanter.
This is the guy I would put at the top of my list for who the Celtics should go after. Even though he’s the oldest out of the bunch at 34 years old, Gortat provides the best fit. He does all of the things Lopez does but has a solid mid-range jumpshot (think of the type that Baynes lives off of) and is more versatile on defense.
For his career he averages 13.8 points 11.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per 36 minutes. I remember him giving the Celtics HELL in the 2017 Semis as he seemed to grab literally every single rebound. He’s also one of those guys who sets a billion illegal screens that the refs never call so I’d like to be on the other side of that for a change. I also like the fact that he played with John Wall for 5 seasons as I think he and Kyrie’s games are similar. They both love to work as the ball handler in PnR and Gortat has been one of the better pick and roll big men out there. The experience he has with Wall will help him transition to playing with Kyrie if he ends up as a Celtic. He’s a solid finisher around the basket and his ability to move guys around in the paint will help the Celtics with rebounding. Lastly, having another guy to take some minutes from Horford down the stretch to keep him fresh would be a positive.
I know I said that the Celtics need a big and that they are all set otherwise, but Morris is an exception. There is absolutely no analysis I have on basketball fit or anything to back this idea of signing Morris other than one thing. THE CELTICS COULD HAVE BOTH MORRIS TWINS. This has been the dream since they were broken up after a short stint together with the Suns. Him and Mook basically play the same exact game (Mook is a better shooter in my opinion) and having them both would be an experience. They’ll either beat up the opposing team or smack around the Celtics when they do things like blowing a 28 point lead to the Clippers. The NBA literally should employ a rule where the Morris twins just have 12 fouls between them and can use them as they please. I need this more than air and if it ends up happening, I’ll be one happy camper. Bring the attitude back to the Bench With Attitude.
P.S. Mook said this today:
This dude Keef might win the MVP after this sort of twin telepathy…
Your move @Celtics.
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