Post-game Reactions

Think about this: Right now, the Celtics are assured of starting their season with just two healthy front line players—Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis. Rasheed Wallace might retire, Perk will likely start the season injured, and Shelden Williams and Brian Scalabrine will either be playing elsewhere (Shelden) or be out of the NBA (perhaps Scal).

Suddenly, Boston needs bigs, and there are two ways they can get them:

The draft. We’ll cover this later this week (and I’ll be at the draft to hopefully interview whoever the C’s pick), but for now, CelticsTown is going through a list of prospects that may be available when the C’s make the 19th pick.

• Free agency. If Paul Pierce remains with the team at his slated $21 million salary, Boston will be well over the salary cap, leaving them with only two ways to sign free agents:

1) The mid-level exception.

This gives teams over the cap the right to sign a free agent for a set salary equivalent to the league’s average salary—around $6 million in 2011. The exception can be split among multiple players, meaning the C’s could sign two players for about $3 million each under the mid-level;

2) The veteran’s minimum exception. A team over the cap can sign as many players as it wants to minimum deals. You can see the minimum salary levels here. The minimum salary for a 5th-year player will be about $993,000 next season; the minimum for a veteran of 10 or more years escalates to about about $1.35 million.

Here’s a list of big men free agents—with a short blurb about each—that will likely be available somewhere on the scale between the minimum and the full mid-level. (You can view the list of all free agents here). I’ll address each in more detail if reports emerge that Boston has interest in any particular player:

• Jermaine O’Neal: Had a rebound season in 2010 (his PER was a robust 17.9), and his shooting percentage jumped over 50 percent for the first time in his career. But as we saw when he pooped the bed against Boston in the playoffs, it’s unclear if he can score against elite defenses, and he’s become more a jump-shooting big as he has aged. His plus/minus numbers over the last three years show a player who is a neutral presence, at best.

Shaquille O’Neal: At 38, Shaq’s statistical profile finally declined across the board. His shooting percentage (56 percent) was his lowest since his rookie season, he got to line less often per minute than ever before in his career, and plus/minus numbers—both raw and adjusted—portray him as an anchor. Cleveland’s offense especially seems to have suffered with Shaq on the court. Shaq was a helpful presence as recently as 2009, and a big guy who can hit 56 percent of his shots would seem to have value. But how much?

Zydrunas Ilgauskas. At 34, all of Ilgauskas’ scoring and rebounding numbers are, not surprisingly, trending downward. After posting a PER of at least 18 every season since 2002, his PER dropped last season to a sad-looking 11.9. His raw plus/minus numbers were neutral, but adjusted plus/minus numbers have long been skeptical of how much of a role Z-man has played in Cleveland’s recent success. Still: The dude can hit an open jumper, and even the occasional corner three.

Brad Miller. A former king of plus/minus whose numbers in that category—both in raw terms and the adjusted stats at Basketball Value—fell back to neutral last season. He has length and toughness Boston can use, but he’s 34, he shot a career-low 43 percent from the floor last season and his rebounding numbers were the worst of his pro career.

Udonis Haslem. At 6’8” (according to Basketball-Reference), Haslem is as under-sized as Glen Davis, but you can count on him for 50 percent shooting on a ton of jumpers and solid defensive rebounding. The adjusted plus/minus system on Basketball Value absolutely hates him—he’s had one of the worst numbers in the league the last two seasons—and that’s probably because the system credits a lot of Haslem’s productivity to being on the court with Wade.

In any case, Haslem’s loyal to Wade and Miami, so he’s probably unavailable.

Brendan Haywood. Probably too expensive for Boston, as some team will throw him more than the mid-level. And he deserves it. He’s a legit 7’0” center who knows his limitations (i.e. he doesn’t shoot jumpers) and improved his team’s defense in both Dallas and Washington, according to his plus/minus numbers on 82games (raw) and Basketball Value (adjusted).

Ben Wallace. Don’t laugh. Yes, he’ll be 36 by the time the 2011 season starts, and, yes, the Celtics don’t want too many guys who can’t shoot jumpers. But there wasn’t a better offensive rebounder in the entire league last season, and we all know the Celtics could use someone with that skill set. He’s an elite defensive rebounder as well, and his plus/minus numbers over the last three seasons are so good you can’t dismiss them.

Tyson Chandler. Chad Ford reported recently that Chandler might out opt out of the final year of his contract—which would pay him nearly $13 million—in order to become a free agent and sign a new deal under the current collective bargaining agreement. Perhaps Chandler thinks he’s worth more than the mid-level because of the residual power of Chris Paul alley-oop highlights. I’m not so sure.

His plus/minus numbers—solid in New Orleansfell off a cliff without Paul to feed him. He’s an asset on defense, and it’s possible that another elite point guard could revive his ability to contribute in the screen/roll. Otherwise, Chandler is an offensive zero.

Kurt Thomas. Teams will look at Thomas if he’s willing to sign for the veteran’s minimum or the biannual exception, which will be worth about $2 million next season. Of course, Boston doesn’t have the biannual exception, since the team used it to sign Marquis Daniels last season.

Thomas was a solid contributor in Seattle and Phoenix, but his numbers with Milwaukee indicate his game might be falling apart as he approaches age 38. He can still grab a defensive rebound, but the Bucks gave up about a half-dozen more points per 100 possessions with Thomas on the floor last season versus with him on the bench.

And while Andrew Bogut’s outstanding defense has a lot to do with that differential, it’s still troubling for a guy who held down the fort defensively well into his mid-30s.

One nice thing: Thomas shot 47 percent on jumpers last season, a solid mark for a big guy.

Lou Amundson. One of the best offensive rebounders in the league two years running, and yet the Suns offense played much worse with Amundson on the floor versus with him on the bench. Playing a decent chunk of minutes alongside Goran Dragic instead of Steve Nash doesn’t help in that regard. Nor does Amundson’s lack of a reliable jumper, though he has progressed (slowly) in that part of his game.

The Suns defense has performed better with Amundson on the floor over the past two seasons. At 6’9”, though, he lacks the length Boston could use against bigger clubs.

Wild cards:

Etan Thomas. Thomas’s insane contract, which paid him nearly $8 million last season, will finally expire, and it does so at a moment where Thomas’s value is a total mystery. He played a bit more than 600 minutes combined in the last three seasons (he missed all of 2008), and his plus/minus numbers for his last two healthy seasons have been among the very worst in the league.

He was decent in 2007, when he put up a league-average PER, but that was a long, long time ago. Does he even have a place in the league anymore?

Rasho Nesterovic. The poor man’s Zydrunas Ilgauskas? He played only 413 minutes last season, and the Raptors gave up nearly 10 more points per 100 possessions with Nesterovic on the floor versus with him on the bench. Yikes.

He’s still a semi-reliable shooter, but at 34, it’s fair to ask whether he has any value in the league.

Ian Mahinmi. Everyone is excited about Ian Mahinmi. He has played 188 minutes in the NBA. I have no clue how good he is. Nobody really does.

• Ike Diogu. Always scores, never plays.

That’s it for now. Are their any free agent big men you think I’m overlooking?

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Zach Lowe

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  • uconnguy

    could the celtics work out a trade for hasheem thabeet? i don’t think he’s a threat offensively to other teams, but he could become a big defensive presence with his size and strength. plus he’s from uconn so i’m biased 🙂

  • perk perk

    Can we get an injury update on perkins? How’d the MRI go?

  • Jay P

    We already new the prognosis on Perk, tears in the MCL and PCL.

    If it happened in December, he’d of been out for the year. Expect not to see him for a majority of the first-half of next season.

  • DaDiVill

    I think Marcus Camby would be a nice big man available out there this summer, also how about David Lee he may accept a mid-level salary for a chance to win the championship.

  • Jay P

    Extremely doubtful on Lee. With the amount of money available out there, teams that strike out on Bosh/Amare may be looking for a good “Plan B” Big man, and will have the money to offer Lee above mid level.

    Camby I doubt goes mid-level either, but even if he does, you still lack an interior post defensive presence. Due to his length, he’s a great rebounder and weak side shot blocker, he can recover and alter shots with the best of them. But do we want to spend our entire mid level on a guy with little offensive game, and no ability to stop post-up players? If that’s the player we want, I’d rather draft Whiteside, least we wouldn’t have to spend anything on him.

  • Tom

    Shaq wouldnt be so bad

  • C Lo

    I’m fairly certain Camby re-signed with the Blazers for 2 years. Pryzbilla who is injured has a player option I think which he will likely pick up. This should assuming everyone is fit by the start of next season with Camby, Oden and Pryzbilla as centers with Pryzbilla likely available for trade. Think his player option is for something like $6.75m. Too high for the Celts and does not offer enough scoring and the Celtics have nothing to trade for him anyways. Juwan Howard will likely be available. I know he is pushing on big time but he wouldn’t be the worst in Shelden’s role for next season. John Salmons wouldn’t be the worst option for the mid level exception but I’m sure he wants to start and probably can get more from some other team.

    Three mildly interesting players for the Celtics could be Amir Johnson, Craig Smith(Prob too undersized likely Big Baby) and Rasual Butler (Good bench shooter from 3 point land).

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Wow! That was a lot of work, Zach! Nice job! It seems like the Cs would draw some great interest from guys who want a legit chance to win a ring. Bigs out there gotta know that with Perks injury, KG getting older, & Sheed probably retiring that minutes will be available. What we need in a big is toughness, some good D, & rebounding. We really don’t need another big who wants to shoot jump shots. If anything, it would be better to have someone who LIKES to play around the rim & does not mind the contact. We should err to the side of defense & rebounding on a big because once Ray, Paul, KG, & Rajon take their shots there is not much opportunity left over on offense anyway. You have to have guys who can do different things. If everybody just wants to shoot jump shots then don’t expect much rebounding or free throws. You need to have variety with guys who like different areas of the floor. Perk liked it down low. That’s the kind of big we need & not some big who is soft & wants to play outside.

    I like Haywood & David Lee, but they will probably go for the big bucks. It sounds crazy, but it doesn’t cost much to make a phone call. I like the grit & exp. of Ben Wallace & Camby, but are they just too old? Age is very difficult— remember PJ Brown? He was exactly what the Cs needed coming in for important minutes & getting key rebounds with great D but not looking for PJ to play huge minutes. I’d say in the playoffs vs the lake the Cs missed PJ more than Posey or Powe or anyone else. If we’d had someone like PJ in his 08 playoff form the rebounding & post D would have been much different.I also like the grit & hustle of Lou Amundson, but is he too short? Seems like you gotta be 6′ 10 with long arms & mobile to be a good rebounder.

  • Ian


  • Cptn Bubbles

    Doubt we could afford him, but Mike Miller’s #s 50%fg 48%3s 82%ft 6reb 4ast 1steal per game are just sick, & I’ve heard he is looking to leave the Wiz & go to a team with a serious chance to win a ring. He is also 6’8. If we can’t have him I hope he goes out west.

  • Alaina

    Channing Frye of the Suns is also a free agent this year. He is a center, and known for his three point shooting.

  • alec martin

    I hope the C’s sign B. Haywood. I think he’ll sign for less with a title contender. He averages 9 ppg, 9 rpg & 2 bpg.
    Matt Barnes is also a fit giving the C’s a sort of a poor man’s Ron Artest – getting into the opponent’s skin, 3pt shooting & tough defense (at the vet’s minimum salary)
    I hope Ray Allen & Pierce will re-sign with the C’s for much less (around $6-8 mil each),
    and Rasheed plays again.
    Maybe Joe Johnson would like to be at Boston & pair up with Rondo to give the C’s a potent backcourt (w/ R. Allen as 6th man).
    Then Nate Robinson & Tony Allen re-signs
    plus that 19th pick (James Anderson?)

    The lineup will be:
    J Johnson
    Haywood (till Perkins comes back)
    N Robinson
    R Allen
    T Allen
    Matt Barnes
    19th pick (a SG or SF)
    Glen Davis
    Rasheed W.
    K Perkins

    If the C’s do get M. Barnes & B. Haywood,
    Boston is a legit title contender

  • jp

    how about bringing in ben wallace and rudy gay, i think both allen and pierce wiould come back cheap for another shot at a title especaiily after what just happend.. we need a younger shooter and rudy would be great for the future GO GET HIM DANNY BOYY

  • A die hard Celtic in LakerLand

    After the egg that Matt Barnes layed in the postseason, I can’t see the C’s signing him. He is all talk and not much game at all.

    We definitely need a backup PG to spell Rondo. If he plays this many minutes in the season again he will run out of gas.

    An interesting possiblity would be Shaun Livingston. PG, 6’7″, I know he had the injury but has great potential and only 24! If we can’t get Nate, we can probably get him for relatively cheap! 1-2mil max.

    The issue of a reliable wing player is our biggest need in the offseason. Salmons would be great cuz he can get his own shot and would be perfect for those dismal offensive spells. I see him going somewhere like NY or NJ to start, while being a $6-8 mil type of player that supplements a high profile FA like JJ or Bosh. Might be interesting if NJ were to sign Bosh, JJ and Salmons. They could have a lineup of Harris, JJ, Salmons, Bosh, and Lopez. That’d be a pretty good team. Not champ caliber but definitely playoff worthy.

    As for the C’s I would also definitely like to see them pursue Josh Childress if he comes back.

    If they can draft an energy type big who can run the floor and just gobble up rebounds with good athleticism that would give them awesome atheleticism and enery/defense off the bench!

    Think of a lineup of Livingston, TA, Childress, Davis and an athletic bigman like Serge Ibaka who just eats the middle of the floor with blocks and Rebounds! Childress would also provide someone with length and athleticism who could get out and run with Rondo in transition! Imagine fast breaks with a small ball lineup including Rondo, TA, Ray, and Childress! Ray can maintain the spread for the open 3 on the corner while Rondo, TA, and J Chill smoke down the court! Don’t know if J Chill will be back from Greece though.

    Jermaine O’ Neal would be a good option for FA big man too if we can’t draft one though. Better to get a younger guy with more athleticism through the draft I think. Gotta have length though. Not undersized. As much as I love Davis, we need a big boy to crash the boards and get TWO HANDS ON THE BALL! Yeah I’m talkin to you KG!

  • A die hard Celtic in LakerLand

    @ JP
    Ben Wallace would be an awesome Beast on the boards but is, again, undersized although for the vet’s min I would take him in an instant! Bring back the fro Ben! He would be a GREAT backup for energy, and Davis and him would gobble up offensive boards! And if Danny can get Rudy Gay somehow!!!!! I am all in on the C’s being the Title favorite for the next 8 years! If he can swing getting Gay and you still have Ray, Pierce and KG while maintaining a core of Rondo and Perkins with Davis off the bench!!!!!!!!!! You could insert Gay into the Starting lineup, make Ray into 30 minute 6th man, and Gay can spell Pierce’s minutes so that Ray and Pierce both stay fresh. Gay can play 38-45 minutes per game while Pierce and Ray can be in the 30-35 range and keep KG in that range too with Davis playing 15-20 minutes per night. Get a vet PG like Livingston or resign Nate, and Draft an Athletic Defensive Bigman wiyth Length to develope and resign TA, you’d have BAR NONE, the best roster in the league while maintaining the core older player for a couple more years and building for the future. If Danny can pull that off, he would go into the hall of fame as with the nickname MAGICIAN, or MASTERMIND.

    Travis Outlaw might be an interesting possiblity too. But I think him and Gay go somewhere for more money.
    Gay: $12-15 mil for a team with a bunch off cap
    Outlaw: $7-8 mil for a team that has cap after all grade A prospects are gone and everyone panicks with their cap space.

  • Sam

    @ Zach
    Ben Wallace sounds the best from your list.

    Have you considered Tyrus Thomas, Amir Johnson or even James Singleton as athletic 4s who can rebound, block shots and finish and leave the defense of bulky 5s to Glen Davis?

  • keith popsicle

    Yikes. That is a grim looking list. Haywood is the best bet, but agree that some team will sign him to an outlandish contract (probably Cuban, since he is very good to guys on his current roster).
    Personally, I like Amundson the best of the options you listed, but lack of size hurts.The reality is you need someone to deal with Dwight Howard, David Lee, Bosh (probably), Noah, Etc. in the East, so the Cs would probably have to settle for someone like Brad Miller or Chandler.
    And Ben Wallace? He hasn’t been good since I was a young pup. Stay away!

  • Atlas

    @zach i know we are talking about big men but assuming that we don’t sign robinson back how about jannero pargo as a back up point guard to rondo???

  • rob

    i think danny needs to sit paul and ray down and explain to them that if they resign for 6-8 million we can get a rudy gay or someone like that. If he can get paul and ray to agree that would be huge. Also sign a big man draft a backup for pierce/ray and get a backup for perk until he gets back.

    @alec martin

    jesus if danny pulled that one off we’d be a lock for the finals and i can’t see not being a favorite for the title

  • Rich

    People asking Paul Pierce to re-sign for 6 million are living in dream land. Would you do it?

    I’m not saying he won’t restructure his deal somewhat but to take like a 70% pay cut is asking way more than most people would be willing to consider.

  • Rich

    Just let me play this one out for you in Pierce’s mind.

    Here is a guy who is simply owed the 21 million on his contract. He has earned it. He has been with the team his entire career and giving everything he has for them. He’s won them a title was finals MVP while doing it.

    Here cames Ainge, and he’s trying to convince to sign for SEVENTY percent less, so he can then sign a guy in Rudy Gay, who hasn’t won a single thing, hasn’t been the playoffs, and as of right now, isn’t as good as you to more than twice what they are asking you to take? Really? After all he’s done for this team.

    Not a chance he goes for that little deal.

  • Atlas

    @rich i think what ppl are hoping for is that pierce trades the guaranteed money this year for an extended contract that will allow him to finish as a celtic and in the long run give him more money especially with the lock out season coming thereby allowing ray allen to finish as a celtic too. but maybe this is just my pipe dream lol

  • Rich

    Oh, and Tyson Chandler opting of 13 million, in this free agent year, is laughable.

    He is a mid-level exception type of player, and is going to find out the hard way if he opts out. No team is going to give him a long term deal worth anything near 13 million a season.

  • maq35

    What’s your take on Joel Anthony? He just opted out.

    I haven’t seen much of him, but he’s a young big who supposedly plays good D.

    First time commenting, but I’ve been following this site (and celticshub twitter) religiously. Thanks for all the hard work this past season.

  • Atlas

    @rich also if i remember correctly a player can only resign/restructure his contract a only take a certain percentage in pay cut or something like that but i could be horribly wrong.

  • Jamie

    Tyson Chandler is a moron if he thinks someone will pay him more then $13 mil a year for a guy with no offensive talent. Some of these guys are clueless.

    How about Drew Gooden? Not stellar but a decent scorer/rebounder. Maybe he wants to be a starter somewhere but it won’t be with the Clippers. Not a great defender.

    For backup point maybe Earl Watson if they let Nate walk. Somebody also mention Shaun Livingston and he is an injury risk, but I saw him with the Wizards several times this year and he looked pretty good.

  • @maq: Keep commenting! I’ll have to look at Anthony’s #s. All D, no O guys make me nervous, but he’s a solid defender and screener who seems to be in the right spots on offense.

    @all: We’ll get to wings and PGs in due time.

  • I love Green

    Alright just to let you guys know we have Oliver Lafayette at back up PG right now. He hasn’t played much in the NBA. I’m not positve but I think his minutes against the Bucks in the last game this season were his first in the NBA. Just sayin though that the PG position is not that important right now.

    I’d love for us to get Haywood. If we could get him to sign for 6 mil we’d be golden at the front line. He doesn’t have much of an offensive game, but he has good hands, and is really athletic for his size.

  • I love Green

    Is KG’s contract up in 2012-13 season?

  • I love Green

    Nope nevermind its 2011-12.

    Okay so if we sign Pierce and Allen to that year, then the big 3 can all retire together leaving us a boatload of cap space. That’s one of the biggest things Danny has to do to plan for the future.

  • strips

    i like the idea of livingston as a backup pg (rondo needs rest to be consistent i guess, plus the size in that position would be nice) and having mike miller as well (does a little bit of everything and then some)…hope we could afford them though…

  • mark

    so, if Pierce temporarily opts out of his contract and then ends up resigning with the Cs later, and with RAllen potentially leaving as a free agent, would the Celts have cap space to sign a big name player like Wade to take over at SG during the period in which Pierce is technically still a FA? Or instead, is it possible for the Celts to trade KG for a first round pick and then use that cap space to sign Bosh? In a dream land, trade KG for a 1st round pick, RAllen and Pierce become free agents, meaning our salary would only include Rondo/Perkins/Davis (then sign Bosh/Wade???) is this possible to end up with a lineup of Rondo/Wade/Bosh/Perkins and a midlevel SF?

  • mark

    also, I dont completely understand the exact salary cap rules, so let me know if im wrong and if im wayy off the mark here, but it would make sense in general to let the older big3 leave and replace them with the younger big2 of Wade/Bosh.

  • Greene

    not to be pessimistic here but it sounds like Ray is gone and nate robinson seems like a guy who will follow the money. Also pierce deserves the 21 mil and probably isn’t gonna opt out. If ray and nate both leave then that pierce and kg as the ONLY consistent offensive threats. If that’s the case then the celtics are better off picking someone who can score in the draft and signing a ben wallace/brad miller type player in the off-season. Next year is not looking too good right now

  • Gerald

    @Zach and others: this is a good conversation and discussion site. i’m glad i found this site. it’s my first time here. i hope a FAKER fan message won’t suddenly pop out again saying non-sense. this is an intellectual discussion and FAKER fans with idiot minds are not fitted here. Go to your own site and mind your own business.

  • Shooter

    The Blazers re signed Camby so he’s out of it.
    I really really really really want Haywood.Ben Wallace would be extremely valuable at the vet min.He was a BEAST on the boards last season for Detroit,his offensive rebound rate was off the charts…..and that was in limited minutes.
    Haslem would also ask or be offered too much money for us to afford him.
    I really don’t know what the big deal with Mahinmi is either…..i mean dude hardly plays the fans must be D League fans because that’s where he spent most of his time last season.
    Is there any way we can trade Pierce+2 future 1sts……….for Gay,Thabeet and Marc Gasol.

  • NHBluesMan

    we need to get Leon Powe back. He played bigger than his height, and lived around the basket! I was really upset when the C’s let him go.

    and as a side note, what is it with the C’s going after Pistons players from the Championship team? Didn’t we also try to trade Ray for Prince and Hamilton this season? lol

    I like the idea of Ben Wallace to be honest. 3-time defensive player of the year (if my memory serves me right), a solid rebounder who’s not afraid to get physical, decent shot blocker at times too. Sure he’s getting older, but at least he’d come into Boston in better shape than Sheed did…

    and as far as worrying about ‘undersized’ players, can’t we just get someone like Wallace and coast through the season till Perk is back, then do what we did this year, just get the 3 or 4 seed and turn it on in the playoffs? unlikely i guess, but just a thought

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    nice homework….

    i think the MLE cant bag a big that can improve the team to championship level. i think danny needs to get more creative with the roster if he wants another run ata banner next year….

  • Rich

    I’m thinking Greene has it right here, it would be better for Celtics fans to hope Pierce doesn’t opt out. Forget about the big name FA this year, it isn’t happening.

    Go with the big 3 one final year, and then let them all leave together. Obviously, this entails re-signing Ray Allen to a one year deal. Go after the FAs next year, cause this season it’s dunzo. Paul Pierce opting out and then signing a 5 year 55-60 million dollar deal doesn’t help the cause either. Be better if he just picks up his option.

  • hawksruleva

    I think the Cs should go get Art Parakhouski. They need to get younger, and Art is a good rebounder, shot-blocker and has a nice jump shot to go with his low post game.

    Radford isn’t a big-time school, but Art put up good numbers against Duke and Kansas.

  • Dennis Savellano

    Hey, is there any chance that we can get Tyson Chandler via trade? What would be the Celtics’ possible options to get him? I just thought he would be perfect for Boston with his defensive mindset, and he can start while Perkins recuperates.

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