As all Boston fans know, the Celtics are in need of another big body to add to the roster. The proof has been in Doc’s persistence with starting Jason Collins for a stretch of 7 games, despite his offensive deficiencies.
Rumours of dream targets like DeMarcus Cousins, Marcin Gortat and Anderson Varejao have been floating around over the last month or so, inciting a host of rampant speculation on Celtics fandom, all of whom are hammering incessantly at the ESPN Trade Machine for a good scenario.
Over at Celtics Down Under, we look at other possible options on the big man market. Given the trade assets Boston will have to offer, a more realistic view is needed should they want to keep future building blocks like Avery Bradley and Jarred Sullinger on the roster.
Timofey Mozgov – Denver Nuggets
A 7’1” 26 year old with legitimate size. He is a solid rebounder and shot blocker. For his career he has a rebounding average of 3.3 per game, which equates to 8.9 rebounds a game over 36 minutes.
His career block average of 0.7 per game equates to 1.9 blocks over 36 minutes. Those numbers speak very highly for a team that so desperately needs a big defensive centre. Denver currently have 3 centres on their roster in JaVale McGee, Kosta Koufos and Mozgov, which has led to Mozgov playing limited minutes at 10 per game this season. A center with good defensive play would be a welcome addition to Boston, especially one that could be had cheaply. He is making $3.1 million this season and becomes a restricted free agent in 2013, so if Boston were able to acquire him via trade, they would hold his rights for the off-season as well.
Jason Thompson – Sacramento Kings
The 6’11” 26 year old playing for Sacramento has been mentioned as the possible odd man out for the Kings. If Sacramento’s front office is serious about keeping DeMarcus Cousins, Thompson could prove to be a very good plan B for the Celtics. With a stock of big men in Cousins, rookie Thomas Robinson, veteran Chuck Hayes and game-winning buzzer beater hero James Johnson all capable of playing the PF and C positions, the Kings can well afford to lose one of their bigs for the right price.
For his career, Thompson has averaged 7.3 rebounds a game, a very handy 10.6 points per game while shooting 50% from the field. If the Kings decide to persist with the development of Thomas Robinson at the PF spot, Thompson and his 5-year, $30.1 million contract would become very attractive to a team like the C’s.
Antawn Jamison – Los Angeles Lakers
Although he plays the power forward (or 4) position, Antawn Jamison would be an excellent addition for Boston. At 6’9” and at the ripe old age of 36, Jamison is only playing for the veteran’s minimum this season in LA. When Coach D’Antoni first took charge of the Lakers, Jamison was thrust into the starting line-up where he posted some impressive scoring and rebounding nights, including highs of 33 points against Denver and 15 rebounds against the Mavericks.
Over the last 9 games however, Jamison’s role has become non-existent, including a stretch of six straight games with a ‘DNP – Coach’s Decision’ next to his name.
After his fifth-straight DNP, Jamison vented his frustration to the Los Angeles Times:
“My only thing is let me know why. I don’t think you go from starting and 30-something minutes to not in the rotation whatsoever. And not explaining to me what exactly happened, that’s the toughest thing. There’s nothing you can do but be positive and support your teammates. The only reason I came here was they said I was going to play and to win a championship.”
With his ability to stretch the defense with a 3-point shooting capability, the Celtics offense would be more open for Rondo drives and cuts from Bradley and Lee, should a trade with the arch rival Lakers be worked out.
Dejuan Blair – San Antonio Spurs
The man with no ACL left in his knees, standing 6’7” and only 23 years old, Dejuan Blair is definitely another option for the Green Team. Tiago Splitter’s rise to prominence for San Antonio this season has resulted in Blair falling back in the pecking order and being underutilised. His season average in minutes is a mere 14 per game, down from 19.6 for his career.
The main problem with acquiring Blair is he does not fulfill the need of a genuine-sized center. With players like Bass, Green and Sullinger already playing the PF position at smaller heights, it may be a stretch to have Blair on the floor at the 5. The big positives for Blair are his experience on a championship-caliber team, his physicality, his age and a contract of only $1 million this season.
Al Jefferson – Utah Jazz
Finally, an old fan favourite in Big Al. The 6’10”, 28 year old boasts career averages of 9 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 16.3 points in 30 minutes per game. We all know the absolute star he is down low in the post, and teaming him with Kevin Garnett all these years after the trade with Minnesota would be a dream come true for many Boston fans.
Big Al recently spoke of coming back to Boston during free agency in 2013. During his last trip to TD Garden, Jefferson told CSNNE.com:
“This will always be my home away from home, first place I’ve been; gave me a chance when nobody else did,” added Jefferson. “If that (returning to Boston) ever happened, I’d love to do that again. But right now, it’s all about taking care of business and finishing the season off right.”
The Jazz have many big men in Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Paul Millsap and Marvin Williams. The main problem for Boston in obtaining Jefferson this season is his expiring $15 million contract. Although Utah has the ability to offer Big Al more money than other teams in free agency, it isn’t guaranteed they will take advantage of their position in order to keep their depth and avoid luxury tax issues. Even if the Celtics cannot bring Jefferson to Boston this season, it could be something worth keeping an eye on during the off-season.
What do you think, are there any other favourite big men that the C’s should be looking at? Let us know in the comments, and thank you for reading! #GoCeltics