Boston Celtics: Difficult Personnel Decisions Await
The Boston Celtics are stuck in a confusing state as they head into the All-Star break winning eight of their last nine and playing the number one overall defense in the NBA, despite a newly welcomed paper-thin depth. The Celtics are down to a nine man rotation and the options for any relevant, contributing additions are less than slim. Danny Ainge has to pull some magic out of the leprechauns hat if the Celtics are to continued their inspired play and make an honest attempt at being somewhat successful in the postseason.
The reports now are that the Celtics are more inclined to look into veteran free agent signings over taking a chance on any D-League talent. When looking at the most prominent options that have arisen for veteran free agent signings, there is a lack of promise to say the least.
Kenyon Martin- The 35 year old former All-Star bang up style big man is certainly “well rested” and could help on the glass and maybe even provide a spark offensively. The trouble with Martin is after sitting out half of a season at the age of 35 he thinks he deserves more than a veteran minimum deal. Just something about that says to me that maybe Ainge would be skeptical of that much entitlement coming from a guy he really needs to be a true team contributor and nothing else. This is a guy that on one hand, would be an upgrade over any of the front court bench options the Celtics have, but they wouldn’t need him to play more than 15-20 minutes per night. Sinking any more cash into this guy than a short term veteran minimum deal would be a mistake and Ainge seems well aware of that, as well as the rest of the league considering Martin is still demanding money from his couch.
Delonte West- Although there is some obvious need for another stop-gap guard in the Celtics’ rotation, I just don’t see West being a proper fit here. Although the franchise knows him well, he’s injury prone and the worry and friction he can bring into a locker-room could seemingly out-weigh what he does on the court at this stage in his career. I’d say the Celtics are far from signing West to anything at this point, his shot at finishing on a positive note for his career is looking pretty non-existent to put it nicely.
Tracy McGrady- McGrady would be an interesting choice for the Celtics to make. He’s shown in his past two seasons in the league he’s not only still got it at the age of 33, but at times he even still has it in clutch moments, playing some valuable bench minutes in recent memory and holding his own. Out of any option at least the one thing with McGrady that is somewhat of a sure bet is that he’s at least in decent enough basketball shape having played in China this year. McGrady will most likely get picked up quickly when his season overseas ends, he still has quite a bit of value to any team looking to band-aid some weaknesses. McGrady is big enough to play multiple positions and still able to score at will at a respective rate for a guy who’s been through what he has at his current age. McGrady seems thankful for any opportunity to stay relevant and simply play. When looking at the Celtics’ current situation, he would fit in nicely with the veteran locker-room atmosphere.
These are the three most “promising” veteran free-agents out there and if the Celtics can use the minimum two times they could presumably sign two of the three players mentioned. Also, with all of the Celtics injuries Ainge may be allowed to use injury exceptions and sign for more than the veteran minimum, this still remains to be seen. The options for trades with what the Celtic’s have and the current circumstances they’ve inherited certainly make for a lot more caution at the trade deadline because of the simple fact that the Celtics need (basically) everyone they have. It’s obvious that there’s a lot of activity happening, but the wait goes until Thursday 3 P.M. February 21st until any answers present themselves.