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Celtics: Three Serious Free Agents for Danny Ainge to Consider

The Boston Celtics depth used to be the difference maker for head coach Doc Rivers. Two years ago, Rivers could point to the bench, pluck a player like he was playing Go Fish, and basically bank on a performance that would push the Celtics over the winning line – or at least stop the bleeding. Most teams (except maybe the Lakers) had no answer for it. The Celtics had their own Pandora’s Box of secrets. Rivers could go small. Rivers could go big. And that’s how the Celtics won their 17th banner with relative ease.

But now, things have gone pear shaped. For a team who used to have a steady hand when it came to all things roster-wise, the Celtics depth has become unbelievably shallow. In fact, it’s the biggest annoyance not named the Miami Heat to plague Danny Ainge’s mind since, well, forever.

In the past two weeks, the Celtics have unnoticeably become much worse. Amongst The Finals, Weiner, and the tedious comparison between LeBron James and Michael Jordan, things have become bad – actually, stressful is probably the better word. First, a 39 year old Shaquille O’Neal pulled the trigger on a career that perhaps underachieved to some. That left Boston reminiscing, but not sulking. Second, Boston also saw center Nenad Krstic disappear overnight in a rather lazy deal on Ainge’s part to CSKA Moscow. That left Boston not only sulking, but scrambling as well.

So here’s where the Celtics stand right now: ‘Big Baby’ Glen Davis, or the highway. Somewhere, Jermaine O’Neal falls in between those two great masses of weight.

Probably, for next season’s sake, Boston will be all over free agency this offseason. Realistically, the Celtics are one of few teams not named the Knicks, Lakers, Bulls or Magic who are in serious need of improvement. And although it will be a rare sight for fans as Ainge hasn’t tested his recruiting skills since he brought Garnett and Ray Allen to Boston, it’s time for the Celtics to do something every rebuilding team must do, and that’s to actually rebuild.

But then again, it won’t be easy for Ainge. Really, it’s unfamiliar territory for a team who has had the long end of the stick in terms of roster luxuries and depth. But the following options could make Ainge’s job a little easier, and the Celtics chances at an 18th title a little higher.

Sasha Pavlovic

This time last year, Sasha Pavlovic was the one guy in the NBA that no one really wanted to commit to. He left Dallas in a rush. New Orleans never really worked out at all. And even after spending a handful of years in Cleveland, the Cavs weren’t all that interested in one of the leagues most underrated big men.

But that’s not to say the Celtics shouldn’t be.

Boston needs to wake up to themselves. Danny Ainge, too. The Celtics have seen the onion unravel at light speed in the past week, and it’s probably scared a lot of fans. But if Ainge steers away from literally reaching for the stars and taking his chances in free agency’s lucky dip draw, he just has to look around him, and notice that big men are available. But good luck telling Ainge that with the talent available in this year’s pool.

Pavlovic is looking for a home, though. And look at this! The Celtics are looking for a big man too. Someone who can lockdown the paint, and also help pave the way for the future behind Rajon Rondo seems perfect. If only the Celtics can keep Pavlovic away from Russia, or Europe entirely.

Boston really needs to get this Pavlovic contract sorted, now. Krstic walked to CSKA Moscow without so much as a wh isper last week, and these overnight deals to foreign teams seem to be the entire craze in the NBA these days.

Pavlovic is big, sure. But he briefly knows the Celtics system. He’s also 27 years old, and right now, and looks as if he may head to Europe and never look back at the NBA – that’s if no one offers him some kind of serious dough. That’s what years of feeling out of place will do to a man. But the Celtics could change that, and actually get more than they bargained for.

Tyson Chandler

The Boston Celtics aren’t known for lavishly spending money on posh free agents. And after securing the NBA Finals with the Dallas Mavericks, Tyson Chandler may not even be interested in relocating, let alone to Boston. Dallas Mavericks Tyson Chandler drives over Miami Heat LeBron James during the NBA Finals game 6 June 12, 2011 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Dallas won the game and the series in six games.

But if it were to happen, it would solve a lot of Ainge’s problems. It may not solve his size problem entirely, that’s for sure. Yet it would guarantee another scoring threat, or at the very least, somebody who is athletic and talented to gel with Rondo’s fast paced style.

To me, this is like securing the Mickey Mantle Topps card as a kid. The chances of it happening are unbelievably low, but if you have the money, signing Chandler is a must, and that can of course be said for just about every other team who has a bank account and an ATM card.

Of course, Chandler’s unselfish game play is handy too. He had 15 points in Game 5 against the Heat late last week, but he also had five defensive rebounds, and is normally a distinct presence on the court with the right pieces around him (a la the Big 3). Whether or not Boston wants to spend this kind of money is a question, though. They do have it. But to say it is a long term move, is an answer best left up to Ainge.

Samuel Dalembert

This is where the Celtics size need is answered, big time.

Perhaps, it could be a dumb move on the Celtics part to take on a 30 year old player in Samuel Dalembert. It’s likely Boston are searching for somebody, say, a little younger – and with less mileage to his name. But Dalembert has his perks, so if the Kings surrender him after only two seasons, expect every second team in the Dwight Howard race to take a serious look at him.

Dalembert has the blocking ability that the Celtics have lacked. We saw little blocked shots against the Heat – a key problem against LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, or in another case, Derrick Rose – and although Kevin Garnett is capable of containing layups, it’s a gamble to risk serious injury. Offensively, though, Dalembert is stale. He isn’t the greatest jump shooter, and he’s definitely too large to drive to the rim consistently.

Then again, those are sometimes the qualities of Big Baby too. If Boston wants to aim for that veteran presence for one more season, however, Dalembert makes perfect sense.

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13 Comments

  1. Danny

    June 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I think I know the perfect fit for a Boston big man. He plays for OKC Thunder. I think his name is Perkins.

  2. Jim

    June 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Pavlovic is a 6’6” swing man you moron. He shots 3s, fouls and wears cement shoes.

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  4. Jamie Canu

    June 13, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    actually Pavlovic is 6’7… but that is neither here nor there. He is not what Boston needs in a big man. And I think there are actually far better free agents whether you are looking for a similar g/f. Pavlovic’s best year was a 22 m/g 9pts and 2 rbs far less production than Baby can give with his eyes closed.

    Granted he is slightly familiar with the system but coming in during March is not the type of jumpstart that would give him any advantage when it comes to the time put into preseason education.

    I would stay far from Pavlovic, Chandler a maybe, but I still think they can do much better.

  5. Banner18

    June 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Get over Perkins. He’s a nice guy and a hardworker, BUT: He has stone hands, can’t catch, can’t shoot, seldom blocks a shot, is a mediocre rebounder, and is the king of the moving pick. He’s an undersized big man who is not active on the offensive glass.
    Folks get attached to their sway backed horses, but they won’t win any races. If you want to moan about players the C’s have traded away, try Billups or Joe Johnson, but Perkins was just a hard worker with little talent, who ate up space, and banged. Even if he was the second coming of Dave Cowens, he’s under longterm contract with the Thunder.
    Get over it.

  6. Lifetime Fan

    June 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Danny Ainge got the Celtics into the mess they are in right now. The C’s should be looking for someone else to get them out of it.

  7. Mark Evans

    June 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    sasha is not a big man by any definition. he could be 6’10, he plays like a 2 guard. i can’t see cuban letting chandler walk, and if he does, he will be too expensive for the celtics, especially if there is going to be a hard cap in the new CBA

  8. david

    June 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Fire that guy..what the H..possibly THE weakest article I’ve ever read..just stupid

  9. rick fleur

    June 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Honestly the player I’m going to suggest a lot of you all may laugh about but I feel a big man that would gel with the Celts is CHRIS JOHNSON. Yea a lot of yall may remember his brief stint with the team. I loved his energy off the bench and tenacity of protecting the rim.Similar to chandler in a way. I can see Rondo throwing up lobs off fast breaks to this guy. He’s young and raw but INEXPENSIVE

  10. Jeff

    June 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Yeah but Johnson is now with Portland and they have the rights for him for next year with an unguaranteed contract. If they cut him in camp then I’d expect the C’s to pick him up for sure.

    Stephane Lasme is another name to consider.

    As for a big man…we simply need to draft one. There’s slim pickings in FA, and most of them will get overpaid (Dalembert) unless they just want a ring.

    The other consideration is that we cannot waste the cap room for multiple years.
    It’s going to be hard but these will need to be one year deals, or trades for guys with one year left.

    Jeremy Tyler makes the most sense with the 25th pick. Resign West and Wafer, get Johnson if Portland passes, sign Stephane Lasme, tender Green for one year, dump BBD, use the MLE on Tashaun Prince as a backup to PP, use the BAE on a SG to backup RA, and look to get either Jajuan Johnson or Jordan Williams in the 2nd round if we can trade up or maybe Jamie Skeen as a stretch 4 or Shelvin Mack as a scoring PG.

  11. Jeff

    June 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Oh and to whatever moron crafted this article…Pavlovic is a SF…not even remotely close to a “Big Man”. Get right before writing this crap.

    Chandler won’t happen, and Dalembert is going to get a very strong push from NYK, and they will be much more willing to commit more years than us.

  12. Matt Davis

    June 20, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Celtics don’t have enough money to sign a quality big man this upcoming season. And yea Pavolvic is 6′ 7″. But the fact of the matter is that the C’s need to add size to the front line. We gotta use our draft picks either to draft a big man, or use our first round pick in a package deal for a better big. I’d consider signing a guy like Yao Ming or Ronnie Turiaf if he does well in a work out. This upcoming season is all or none for the Big 3 era so I’d say make any necessary moves that don’t cripple us in the future.

  13. Edwin

    July 20, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Now! If i was danny ainge!! I will go after a big” with size’s that’s the first.thing i will do?that could block!shot’s and get, rebouns seacon………go after! every free agent! Day have.out their? That’s real talk)

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