While the rumors continue to swirl on the Chris Paul front, the fact of the matter is whether or not the C’s are in the running for the New Orleans star, they will have ample amounts of roster space to fill out with extremely limited means. With that in mind, Danny Ainge has kicked off the free agency period of recruiting by contact three guys with close ties to Boston. Glen Davis, Marquis Daniels and Leon Powe.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com has been on top of the Davis news from the beginning yesterday and reports on the importance of contacting Baby on the first day to help him feel appreciated/increase the odds of bringing him back:
“It’s very important,” John Hamilton, Davis’ agent, told CSNNE.com. “It shows Danny and the Celtics appreciate the contributions he has made to the club, and are open to seeing if they can continue to relationship that started four years ago.”
Ainge is not alone.
Two league sources on Monday said that a number of Davis’ teammates, including Paul Pierce, have reached out to Davis in an effort to convince him to return to Boston.
And the Pistons may be willing to offer Davis the full mid-level exception which is worth $5 million in the yet-to-be-ratified new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Celtics have Davis’ Bird Rights which would allow them to exceed the salary cap to re-sign him.
This should come as no surprise, as if the C’s fail to re-sign Davis, they will almost certainly have to use a veteran’s minimum to replace him, if they don’t deal him in a sign-and-trade. That latter scenario also appears unlikely, as most teams interested in Davis have ample cap room to sign him, or would be uninterested in a sign-and-trade with Boston. The C’s obviously want Baby back, but they want him at a reasonable number. If the Pistons are willing to force their hand and offer Davis five million, I see Boston having to match, strictly due to the fact that there are mostly inferior alternatives out there for the prices Boston can pay. We’ll keep a close eye on the latest on Baby as it develops, but it could be the first chip (and perhaps the most crucial one) to fall for Boston in free agency.
Moving on to other names, if you are hoping Ainge is interested in bringing back the whole gang together, you’ve got some good news waiting for you.
We’ll start with Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, who spoke with Mr. Powe yesterday and tweeted the following:
Leon Powe said the Grizzlies and Celtics are the teams he’s looking at. As for the Lakers? “I’m just here watching basketball.”
The C’s had a chance to bring back Leon last year after he was bought out by Cleveland, but passed on him in favor of Troy Murphy (another Ainge whoops). Not only would signing Leon make sense from a team needs standpoint, (offensive rebounding and post scoring are two glaring weaknesses for this roster), but the fact it would likely only take a veteran’s minimum to do would seemingly make it a no brainer.
A. Sherrod Blakely also has the C’s contacting Daniels early in the free agent hunt, another guy who will likely be available for the veteran’s minimum.
Now let’s be clear here. Both of these guys are big injury risks, on a team chalk full of aging veterans that could breakdown at any moment. Not exactly what this roster needs from that perspective.
On the other hands, Powe and Daniels are easily two of the best names available in the bargain basement bin in NBA free agency right now.
Perhaps more importantly, they both bring extensive knowledge of the C’s system. We saw how challenging it can be last year to try to integrate guys into the team during a season with Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and all of the buyout additions. That’s almost essentially what will be happening this year with the extremely short training camp and heavy schedule that will put practice time at a premium for Doc Rivers. Bringing in bodies that Doc knows, trusts, and can play to their strengths is exactly what this team right now.
Make no mistake, there will be plenty of brand new bodies in here anyway. The rookies, another free agent veteran center, likely a guard or two as well. It would be nice though to have that continuity going forward with these guys, to keep the heavy learning about the C’s system to four or five guys, instead of half the entire roster.
So I plead to you Danny. Put on the full court press here with these guys. Offer them a two-year deal, with a player option if you think it helps to Leon and Marquis. Have your players recruit them. Make the best of a tough free agency situation and bring in the guys you know can play.