By Aaron Jackson
Assuming the Cleveland Cavaliers stop their grandstanding and absurd requests for more in the Kyrie Irving deal, the 2017-2018 Boston Celtics will have essentially an entirely different roster from last year. Only 4 players will return from last year’s team, which is crazy, but probably for the best. The trade also opens up a spot for a player to either be put on the roster from the summer league squad/international signings/Red Claws, or from NBA free agency. Now because they are over the salary cap, they can’t afford anything above league minimum, which is based on a player’s service time. The max they could offer someone is $2.3 million, and that can only be for a player that has been in the league at least 10 years. Still, with the Celtics roster they can now actually compete with teams like the Spurs, Warriors and Cavs for those aging veterans just looking for a chance at a ring that aren’t too concerned with money. Here are 5 players I think could fill that roster spot from outside the organization.
- Andrew Bogut: Bogut has bounced around a bit his last few years in the league. A good defensive big man that can pass well too, he certainly is past his prime, and is injury prone. Last year saw him sign with Cleveland after being bought out, then immediately break his leg. He certainly could provide Boston with some bench depth at the center position.
- Tony Allen: Fans are likely familiar with the lockdown defender, as he started his career in Boston and was a member of the 2007-08 championship team, before going to Memphis. Allen could make for a great player off the bench to spell Marcus Smart, and could even start if Smart struggles out of the gate. While he’s never been an offensive force (only averaging over 10 points per game in his career once) he knows his role and would provide defense to a team that may be lacking. Assuming he’s willing to take a cheap deal, he’d be a great fit.
- Matt Barnes: It feels like Barnes has been in the league FOREVER. At 37 years old, he’s never been afraid of making headlines and getting into fights with teammates/opponents. That said, Barnes continues to be a good defender that can also provide some offensive firepower, and is also a plus on the boards. His attitude can be abrasive if a team doesn’t like him, but he could also be a big addition when it comes to hustle and hard work.
- Kris Humphries: Most known for marrying a Kardashian for a couple of minutes, this big man has actually had a decent NBA career, including one year in Boston in 2013. He’s not the athlete he once was, but he’s always been an elite rebounder when given the minutes, and has developed into a passable 3 point shooter from his position as well. I wouldn’t count on Humphries to give you 20 minutes a game anymore, but he would be the Celtics best rebounder whenever he sees action.
- Derrick Williams: The #2 overall pick just 6 years ago (behind Kyrie Irving and 58 spots ahead of Isaiah Thomas), Williams has never lived up to the hype or the talent. That said, he has managed to stay in the league as a role player, and actually looked like a decent option in Miami before ending up in Cleveland. At times he’ll look like a guy that could be a starter in the league, and at other times he’ll look like a guy that doesn’t belong in the D-League, but on a team like Boston he can ride the pine on weeks that he isn’t being productive. He could be a nice bench addition as a spark this upcoming season.
Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.