2012-13 Celtics free agent options at power forward
|06.27.12 at 6:17 pm ET|
Two-thirds of the Celtics roster that came within a game of reaching a third NBA finals in five years joins NBA free agency on July 1. Anyone from Kevin Garnett to Keyon Dooling can leave Boston on July 11 once the league’s audit determines the salary cap, expected to approach the 2011-12 number of $58 million. We’re examining the C’s free agent options at each position. Now starting: Power forwards (Also see: Centers and shooting guards).
The Celtics began last season with Kevin Garnett as the starting four, but his move to center bumped backup Brandon Bass into the starting position and transformed the team. Both Chris Wilcox (heart surgery) and rookie JaJuan Johnson showed flashes of athletic brilliance as running mates to Rajon Rondo off the bench.
Given his effectiveness down the stretch, Garnett seems the logical solution to the C’s center position, and barring an Avery Bradley-esque leap Johnson appears locked into the back end of the depth chart. That means the Celtics will need two players capable of playing power forward, ideally one who can defend both bigs and another athletic option who can provide an energy boost for the reserve unit. Perhaps Bass and Wilcox are the answers.
The Celtics have four players under guaranteed contracts in 2012-13 for a combined $34.5 million (Paul Pierce, $16.8M; Rondo, $11.0M; Bradley, $1.6M; Johnson, $1.1M). Pending decisions on or by Garnett, Bass, Wilcox, Ray Allen, Jeff Green, Mickael Pietrus, Greg Stiemsma, Ryan Hollins and Dooling, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will have anywhere from $0-33 million to spend in free agency.
As a result, expect the C’s to be linked to just about any and every free agent on the market. Nobody is out of their league. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at power forward, separating the current free agent players into four categories.
THE BRANDON BASSES
No-Pass Bass averaged 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the floor and 81 percent from the free throw line, providing toughness on the glass and finesse on the perimeter. Most importantly, his quiet and consistent contribution complemented the Big Four, and this group might also offer a similar solution.
RICH MAN: RYAN ANDERSON
- Status: Restricted ($3.2 million qualifying option)
- 2011-12 averages (61 games): 32.2 MIN, 16.1 PTS, 7.7 REB, 43.9 FG%, 39.3 3P%, 87.7 FT%
- Why? The reigning Most Improved Player honor, the 6-foot-10 Anderson simply did what he’d done the year prior — knock down triples and rebound — only in more minutes.
- Why not? While he’d fit seamlessly into the C’s offense, spreading the floor even more, he’s not the greatest defender, and he’s exactly the kind of free agent teams overpay.
COMMON MAN: KRIS HUMPHRIES
- Status: Unrestricted
- 2011-12 averages (62 games): 34.9 MIN, 13.8 PTS, 11.0 REB, 1.5 AST, 1.2 BLK, 48.1 FG%, 75.2 FT%
- Why? Despite the ridiculousness of fans booing Kim Kardashian‘s former husband everywhere he went, Humphries put his head down and totaled the 10th-most double-doubles in the NBA (29).
- Why not? He didn’t exactly come across as the brightest of bulbs on the small screen, posing a problem for Doc Rivers‘ schemes, and he brings a Shaquille O’Neal-like distraction with a Shaq-like jump shot.
POOR MAN: MICHAEL BEASLEY
- Status: Restricted ($8.2 million qualifying option)
- 2011-12 averages (47 games): 23.1 MIN, 11.5 PTS, 4.4 REB, 1.0 AST, 44.5 FG%, 37.6 3P%, 64.2 FT%
- Why? The Timberwolves appear unlikely to extend the $8.2 million qualifier, and Beasley remains a 23-year-old skilled athlete who has averaged as much as 19.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists in the NBA.
- Why not? Speaking of the dimmest of bulbs, Beasley attended somewhere around 37 high schools, and his fondness of marijuana doesn’t exactly fit the mold of the locker room Rivers built this past season.
HOMELESS MEN: J.J. Hickson, $3.4 million qualifier (54 games: 23.0 MIN, 8.4 PTS, 6.2 REB, 46.7 FG%, 64.2 FT%); Ersan Ilyasova, unrestricted (60 games: 27.6 MIN, 13.0 PTS, 8.8 REB, 1.2 AST, 49.2 FG%, 45.5 3P%, 78.1 FT%); Carl Landry, unrestricted (41 games: 24.4 MIN, 12.5 PTS, 5.2 REB, 50.3 FG%, 79.9 FT%).
THE CHRIS WILCOXES
In the weeks prior to learning of his heart problem, Wilcox hit his stride, filling the role of energetic big off the bench by offering his alley-oop services to Rondo on the break. The 10-seasoned veteran offered both experience and scoring, qualities this group might also contribute to varying degrees.
RICH MAN: ANTAWN JAMISON
- Status: Unrestricted
- 2011-12 averages (65 games): 33.1 MIN, 17.2 PTS, 6.3 REB, 2.0 AST, 40.3 FG%, 34.1 3P%, 68.3 FT%
- Why? Averaging at least 15 points in his past 13 seasons, the 36-year-old Jamison is a proven scorer who rarely turns the ball over and rebounds well for a 6-foot-9 forward.
- Why not? In 14 NBA seasons, he’s never gotten past the second round, even on LeBron James teams in Cleveland, where his laissez-fare defense can go relatively unnoticed.
COMMON MAN: MARREESE SPEIGHTS
- Status: Restricted ($4.4 million qualifying offer)
- 2011-12 averages (60 games): 22.4 MIN, 8.8 PTS, 6.2 REB, 45.3 FG%, 77.1 FT%
- Why? A less productive Bass clone, the 24-year-old Speights knocked down 47 percent of his shots from 16-23 feet and owned an abysmal assist rate (7.87), but he’s contributed to three playoff teams in four seasons.
- Why not? Rivers’ buddy Doug Collins and the 76ers and seemed far too comfortable to part with a budding big with an affordable contract for a pair of likely late second-round picks this past offseason.
POOR MAN: KENYON MARTIN
- Status: Unrestricted
- 2011-12 averages (42 games): 22.4 MIN, 5.2 PTS, 4.3 REB, 1.0 BLK, 44.1 FG%, 23.1 3P%, 37.0 FT%
- Why? What Martin lacks in finesse on his jump shot, the 6-foot-9, 240-pounder makes up for with tremendous athleticism (even at 34 years old) and a toughness that translates well on defense.
- Why not? After starting all but 10 games over seven seasons in Denver, the injury-plagued, 12-year veteran’s production off the bench for the Clippers stumbled significantly upon his return from China.
HOMELESS MEN: Boris Diaw, unrestricted (57 games: 25.0 MIN, 6.4 PTS, 4.9 REB, 3.6 AST, 44.4 FG%, 31.3 3P%, 62.9 FT%); Jason Maxiell, $5.0 million player option (65 games: 22.6 MIN, 6.5 PTS, 5.1 REB, 47.8 FG%, 54.7 FT%); Jason Thompson, $4.4 million qualifier (64 games: 25.9 MIN, 9.1 PTS, 6.9 REB, 53.5 FG%, 60.2 FT%).
THE JAJUAN JOHNSONS
Johnson’s 36-minute averages of 13.8 points, 7.0 boards and 1.7 blocks may have come in garbage time, but he showed flashes of athleticism and improvement that bode well for his future. However, if Ainge wants more depth in his frontcourt, these young talents might push the C’s sophomore even further down the depth chart.
RICH MAN: LAVOY ALLEN
- Status: Restricted ($1.0 million qualifying offer)
- 2011-12 averages (41 games): 15.2 MIN, 4.1 PTS, 4.1 REB, 47.3 FG%, 78.6 FT%
- Why? Most people hadn’t heard of the Temple rookie until Allen seemingly averaged a double-double while playing staunch defense against Garnett in the conference semis.
- Why not? Because of Allen’s emergence in the playoffs, the Sixers and others may overpay for a guy who enjoyed just a week of consistent production this season.
COMMON MAN: DARRELL ARTHUR
- Status: Restricted ($3.0 million qualifying option)
- 2011-12 averages (DNP): Torn Achilles tendon
- Why? Arthur made the leap on both ends of the ball in his third season, playing 80 regular-season and 13 playoff games for a Grizzlies team that pushed the Thunder to the limit in the 2011 conference semifinals.
- Why not? After suffering a season-ending Achilles tear in practice prior to last season, the Arthur has now missed at least 50 games in two of his last three seasons, never good for a 6-foot-9 athletic 24-year-old.
POOR MAN: ANTHONY RANDOLPH
- Status: Restricted ($4.0 million qualifying offer)
- 2011-12 averages (34 games): 15.2 MIN, 7.4 PTS, 3.6 REB, 1.0 BLK, 47.0 FG%, 76.2 FT%
- Why? Of all the question marks about the 22-year-old Randolph, athleticism is not one of them for a 6-foot-11 kid who can handle the ball, get to the rim, rebound and block shots.
- Why not? There are reasons Randolph has played for three teams before his 23rd birthday, but let’s point to one of them that doesn’t fit the C’s mold: Effort on the defensive end.
HOMELESS MEN: Jordan Hill, unrestricted (39 games: 14.1 MIN, 5.0 PTS, 4.8 REB, 49.7 FG%, 63.8 FT%); Ivan Johnson, $1.0 million qualifier (56 games: 16.7 MIN, 6.4 PTS, 4.1 REB, 51.3 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 72.0 FT%); Ian Mahinmi, unrestricted (61 games: 18.7 MIN, 5.8 PTS, 4.8 REB, 54.6 FG%, 63.9 FT%).
THE SEAN WILLIAMSES
Either not worth the asking price or not worth any price, like Williams, these guys are a dime a dozen and wouldn’t be much of an upgrade over anybody at the league minimum. Thanks, but no thanks.
- Louis Amundson (60 games: 12.6 MIN, 3.5 PTS, 3.7 REB, 43.0 FG%, 42.7 FT%)
- Renaldo Balkman (14 games: 8.2 MIN, 3.0 PTS, 1.8 REB, 50.0 FG%, 22.2 3P%, 72.7 FT%)
- Craig Brackins (14 games: 6.3 MIN, 1.6 PTS, 1.1 REB, 27.3 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
- Brian Cardinal (44 games: 6.3 MIN, 1.0 PTS, 25.5 FG%, 20.4 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
- Earl Clark (45 games: 12.4 MIN, 2.7 PTS, 2.8 REB, 36.7 FG%, 72.4 FT%)
- Brian Cook (27 games: 8.6 MIN, 2.5 PTS, 2.0 REB, 31.6 FG%, 20.0 3P%, 90.9 FT%)
- Francisco Elson (5 games: 3.2 MIN, 33.3 FG%)
- Jeremy Evans (29 games: 7.5 MIN, 2.1 PTS, 1.8 REB, 64.3 FG%, 50.0 FT%)
- Reggie Evans (56 games: 13.8 MIN, 1.9 PTS, 4.9 REB, 47.2 FG%, 50.7 FT%)
- Luke Harangody (21 games: 11.0 MIN, 2.9 PTS, 2.6 REB, 35.4 FG%, 23.8 3P%, 75.0 FT%)
- Juwan Howard (28 games: 6.8 MIN, 1.5 PTS, 1.6 REB, 30.9 FG%, 80.0 FT%)
- Jared Jeffries (39 games: 18.7 MIN, 4.4 PTS, 3.9 REB, 41.0 FG%, 68.1 FT%)
- Yi Jianlian (30 games: 6.8 MIN, 2.6 PTS, 1.6 REB, 37.8 FG%, 30.0 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
- Chris Johnson (27 games: 6.5 MIN, 2.0 PTS, 1.5 REB, 48.8 FG%, 78.9 FT%)
- Vernon Macklin (23 games: 5.9 MIN, 2.0 PTS, 1.5 REB, 54.3 FG%, 57.1 FT%)
- Troy Murphy (59 games: 16.2 MIN, 3.2 PTS, 3.3 REB, 45.0 FG%, 41.8 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
- Vladimir Radmanovic (49 games: 15.4 MIN, 4.5 PTS, 2.9 REB, 1.1 AST, 37.6 FG%, 37.0 3P%, 75.9 FT%)
- Ryan Reid (5 games: 3.4 MIN, 1.6 PTS, 80.0 FG%)
- Brian Scalabrine (28 games: 4.4 MIN, 1.1 PTS, 46.7 FG%, 14.3 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
- Lance Thomas (42 games: 15.0 MIN, 4.0 PTS, 3.0 REB, 45.2 FG%, 83.9 FT%)
- Ronny Turiaf (17 games: 16.4 MIN, 3.0 PTS, 4.1 REB, 1.0 BLK, 57.6 FG%, 59.1 FT%)
- D.J. White (58 games: 18.9 MIN, 6.8 PTS, 3.6 REB, 49.3 FG%, 70.5 FT%)
- Shawne Williams (25 games: 20.6 MIN, 4.5 PTS, 2.7 REB, 28.6 FG%, 24.1 3P%, 72.7 FT%)
- Shelden Williams (58 games: 22.0 MIN, 4.6 PTS, 6.0 REB, 47.8 FG%, 73.1 FT%)
Bass declined his $4.3 million player option for next season, so both he and the Celtics will see if the grass is any greener elsewhere. The 27-year-old LSU product’s steady production proved an upgrade from Glen Davis, but outside of his explosion in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Bass left plenty to be desired in the playoffs. While the C’s may also address the position in the draft and see improvement from Johnson, Ainge should kick the tires on everyone from Anderson to Thompson, but Bass and Wilcox isn’t the worst-case scenario.