While we at CelticsHub were taking an extra long holiday weekend (our apologies) the vast majority of you probably heard rumblings around the net (Via Sports.ru: h/t: CelticsLife) about the reported interest of a Russian pro team in the C’s free agent center:
CSKA Moscow are reportedly interested in signing Boston Celtics’ Serbian centre Nenad Krstic (27 years old, 213 cm). According to Serbian website Sportske.net, the Russian club has offered the player a long-term contract.
Meanwhile, commenting on this information CSKA president Andrey Vatutin has refrained from giving a direct confirmation or denial.
As the off-season is coming with active negotiations and signings of new players, there will be a lot of rumors on alleged future contracts around each club. Some of this information will prove to be true, some will be a complete lie and just an element of the agents’ game aimed to increase the price of a particular player. CSKA not will neither deny, nor confirm any rumors before the actual conclusion of official contracts,» Vatutin stated according to Championat.ru.
Although Krstic’s brief Celtic stint was underwhelming, primarily due to a host of nagging knee injuries, it can not be understated just how crucial the former Thunder big man could be to the C’s future plans. Why? Just take a look around the roster, where big bodies and more specifically centers are nowhere to be found. Jermaine O’Neal, the one signed center on the roster, is far from certain to return, as I documented a few weeks ago, due to retirement. That possibility places even more importance on Nenad when it comes to next season. And while it will take a while to know what the C’s are working with as far as the CBA is concerned, Krstic is one of the few crucial players that Boston has bird rights on this offseason, giving them the option to spend money on Krstic, while staying away from their pool of MLE money.
Due to this, barring a sign-and-trade, I felt like Krstic was as close to a sure thing to returning next season, giving his age, size, offensive potential, and reasonable salary (5.5 million). While no mentions of dollar amounts have been made yet over the rumored Russian offer, it’s safe to say any potential lockout could entice the European center to jump back across the pond for a more reliable and timely payday. It’s a very real scenario Boston could face, and just another reason to root against any lengthy lockout come July 1st.