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2012-13 Celtics free agent options at point guard

07.02.12 at 12:18 pm ET
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Two-thirds of the Celtics roster that came within a game of reaching a third NBA finals in five years joined NBA free agency over the weekend. While Kevin Garnett became the first to announce his plans to re-sign, everyone from Ray Allen to Greg Stiemsma can still leave Boston on July 11 once the league’s audit determines the salary cap (an estimated $58 million). We’re finishing up our examination of the C’s free agent options at each position with point guards (Also see: Centers, shooting guards, power forwards and small forwards).

Rajon Rondo makes this job a little easier. The Celtics point guard averaged 42.6 minutes in the playoffs, cementing himself as one of the game’s great floor generals, so forget about guys like Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, Raymond Felton, Jameer Nelson and Jason Kidd. All of them will be looking for starting roles, with the possible exception of Kidd, who seems settled in Dallas even if the Mavericks lure Williams.

Still, Avery Bradley‘s move to the two last season left C’s coach Doc Rivers with Keyon Dooling and E’Twaun Moore as his primary backup point guards. So, while Bradley could still spell Rondo at times and both Dooling and Moore remain options — the former for the veteran minimum as a free agent and the latter for his $0.76 million non-guaranteed contract — the Celtics could make an upgrade at the position.

The Celtics now have five players under guaranteed contracts in 2012-13 for roughly $45.8 million (Paul Pierce, $16.8M; Garnett, approximately $11.3M; Rondo, $11.0M; Bradley, $1.6M; JaJuan Johnson, $1.1M) as well as $2.1 million in cap holds for first-round picks Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo. Pending decisions on or by Allen, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Mickael Pietrus, Chris Wilcox, Ryan Hollins, Dooling and Stiemsma, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will have anywhere from zero to $10 million to spend in free agency.

As a result, expect the Celtics to be linked to just about any and every free agent on the market. Almost 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 backup point guard, separating the current free agent players into three categories.

THE KEYON DOOLINGS

A 12-year NBA veteran and vice president of the players union, Dooling gave the Celtics a presence their locker room lacked outside of Pierce, Garnett and Allen. Despite missing 20 games during the regular season, the 32-year-old played his best basketball in the playoffs, and his 3-point shooting allowed Rivers to play him at both guard positions. The C’s coach trusts his veterans down the stretch, and these guys offer similar solutions.

RICH MAN: JASON TERRY

  • Status: Unrestricted
  • 2011-12 averages (63 games): 31.7 MIN, 15.1 PTS, 3.6 AST, 2.1 REB, 1.2 STL, 43.0 FG%, 37.8 3P%, 88.3 FT%
  • Why? The C’s have reportedly expressed interest in Terry, who averaged 15.1 points on 43.0 percent shooting (37.8 3P%), as both a backup to Rondo and Allen insurance.
  • Why not? Outside of his midrange to 3-point shooting, Terry doesn’t get to the rim, has seen a pike in his turnovers the last two seasons and isn’t considered a great defender.

COMMON MAN: CHAUNCEY BILLUPS

  • Status: Unrestricted
  • 2011-12 averages (20 games): 30.4 MIN, 14.9 PTS, 4.0 AST, 2.5 REB, 36.4 FG%, 38.4 3P%, 89.5 FT%
  • Why? Once the best player on an NBA championship team, Billups can score from (41.6 FG%, 38.9 3P%, 89.4 FT% in his career) and defend (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) both guard positions well.
  • Why not? At 35 years old, Billups has suffered season-ending ACL and Achilles injuries, respectively, in his last two seasons, and even still the Clippers seem intent on bringing him back.

POOR MAN: RAMON SESSIONS

  • Status: Unrestricted
  • 2011-12 averages (64 games): 26.7 MIN, 15.2 PTS, 7.5 AST, 4.5 REB, 42.8 FG%, 44.3 3P%, 78.2 FT%
  • Why? A productive backup on the lowly Cavaliers, Sessions proved his worth to a contender, averaging 12.7 points, 6.2 assists and 3.8 boards mainly as a starter post-trade to the Lakers.
  • Why not? While it would be sweet to steal Sessions away from L.A., he turned down a $4.55 million player option to become a free agent, and the Lakers are more desperate to sign him at a higher price.

HOMELESS MEN: Leandro Barbosa, unrestricted (64 games: 21.6 MIN, 11.1 PTS, 2.0 REB, 1.5 AST, 42.5 FG%, 38.2 3P%, 81.5 FT%); Aaron Brooks, $3.0 million qualifier (41 games in China: 29.9 MIN, 22.3 PTS, 4.8 AST, 3.5 REB, 1.9 STL, 55.3 FG%, 40.7 3P%, 83.0 FT%); Randy Foye, unrestricted (65 games: 25.9 MIN, 11.0 PTS, 2.2 AST, 2.1 REB, 39.8 FG%, 38.6 3P%, 85.9 FT%).

THE E’TWAUN MOORES

Moore certainly had his moments in his first NBA season, shooting almost 40 percent from 3-point range, but like most rookies under Rivers he barely got on the floor in the playoffs. Still, the 6-foot-4, 191-pound guard showed he can be a contributor in the league for years to come. If the Celtics choose to go younger at the backup guard spot, these guys would be massive upgrades from both Moore and Dooling as well as building blocks for the future.

RICH MAN: GEORGE HILL

  • Status: Restricted ($3.1 million qualifying offer)
  • 2011-12 averages (50 games): 25.5 MIN, 9.6 PTS, 3.0 REB, 2.9 AST, 44.2 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 77.8 FT%
  • Why? The 26-year-old Hill has always been a scorer, averaging 21.5 points as an IUPUI junior, and his athleticism and acumen have led to improved command on both ends.
  • Why not? With the possibility looming of losing Roy Hibbert to the Blazers, it seems unlikely the Pacers would allow both their starting center and Sixth Man to walk.

COMMON MAN: GORAN DRAGIC

  • Status: Unrestricted
  • 2011-12 averages (66 games): 26.5 MIN, 11.7 PTS, 5.3 AST, 2.5 REB, 46.2 FG%, 33.7 3P%, 80.5 FT%
  • Why? With increased minutes for the Rockets came increased production on both ends for the sizable 6-foot-3 Dragic, who gets to and shoots 67 percent from the rim on top of a career 36.4 3-point percentage.
  • Why not? Despite his spike in assists this past season, the 26-year-old European also saw an increase in turnovers while his rebound rate remained poor at best and his long-distance shooting fell back to earth.

POOR MAN: D.J. AUGUSTIN

  • Status: Restricted ($4.4 million qualifying option)
  • 2011-12 averages (48 games): 29.3 MIN, 11.1 PTS, 6.4 AST, 2.3 REB, 37.6 FG%, 34.1 3P%, 87.5 FT%
  • Why? A starter for the Bobcats, the 24-year-old Augustin can shoot (40.7 FG%, 37.4 3P%, 87.6 FT% in his career) and has improved as a passer (47.25 assist rate), so he might benefit from playing with talent.
  • Why not? At 6-foot, 180 pounds, Augustin struggles defensively, and even his offensive production has been rocky over his first four seasons, so spending a full mid-level exception on him seems a stretch.

HOMELESS MEN: Jerryd Bayless, $4.0 million qualifier (31 games: 22.7 MIN, 11.4 PTS, 3.8 AST, 2.2 REB, 42.4 FG%, 42.3 3P%, 85.2 FT%); Jordan Farmar, $4.3 million player option; (39 games: 21.3 MIN, 10.4 PTS, 3.3 AST, 1.6 REB, 46.7 FG%, 44.0 3P%, 90.5 FT%); Patrick Mills, $0.9 million qualifier (16 games: 16.3 MIN, 10.3 PTS, 2.4 AST, 1.8 REB, 48.5 FG%, 42.9 3P%, 100.0 FT%).

THE TYRONN LUES

Either not worth the asking price or not worth any price, these guys are a dime a dozen and wouldn’€™t be much of an upgrade over anybody at the league minimum or the Celtics assistant coach. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • Blake Ahearn (4 games: 7.5 MIN, 2.5 PTS, 1.2 REB, 1.2 AST, 27.3 FG%, 29.8 EP%, 97.0 FT%)
  • Gilbert Arenas (17 games: 12.4 MIN, 4.2 PTS, 1.1 AST, 1.9 REB, 40.6 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 70.0 FT%)
  • Earl Boykins (8 games: 13.9 MIN, 4.9 PTS, 2.1 AST, 1.4 REB, 33.3 FG%, 22.2 3P%, 86.7 FT%)
  • Anthony Carter (24 games: 8.7 MIN, 2.0 PTS, 1.4 REB, 1.4 AST, 32.1 FG%, 29.4 3P%, 80.0 FT%)
  • Baron Davis (29 games: 20.5 MIN: 6.1 PTS, 4.7 AST, 1.9 REB, 1.2 AST, 37.0 FG%, 30.6 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
  • Jerome Dyson (9 games: 20.0 MIN, 7.4 PTS, 2.1 REB, 2.0 AST, 1.2 STL, 39.6 FG%, 12.5 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
  • Derek Fisher (63 games: 23.9 MIN, 5.6 PTS, 2.7 AST, 1.9 REB, 37.1 FG%, 32.1 3P%, 85.1 FT%)
  • Jonny Flynn (29 games: 14.3 MIN, 4.5 PTS, 3.3 AST, 1.3 REB, 35.1 FG%, 29.4 3P%, 74.4 FT%)
  • Courtney Fortson (10 games: 9.5 MIN, 3.5 PTS, 1.5 REB, 1.0 AST, 34.4 FG%, 23.1 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
  • Sundiata Gaines (57 games: 13.9 MIN, 5.1 PTS, 2.2 AST, 1.9 REB, 37.6 FG%, 34.1 3P%, 61.5 FT%)
  • Manny Harris (26 games: 17.5 MIN, 6.7 PTS, 2.7 REB, 1.2 AST, 40.0 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 69.5 FT%)
  • Terrell Harris (22 games: 14.5 MIN, 3.6 PTS, 2.3 REB, 1.2 AST, 34.9 FG%, 20.5 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
  • Kirk Hinrich (48 games: 25.8 MIN, 6.6 PTS, 2.8 AST, 2.1 REB, 41.4 FG%, 34.6 3P%, 78.1 FT%)
  • Royal Ivey (34 games: 10.4 MIN, 2.1 PTS, 35.6 FG%, 34.0 3P%, 12.5 FT%)
  • Mike James (11 games: 10.9 MIN, 4.8 PTS, 2.6 AST, 40.8 FG%, 60.0 3P%, 87.5 FT%)
  • Armon Johnson (9 games: 13.8 MIN, 5.2 PTS, 1.4 REB, 1.2 AST, 46.5 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
  • Carldell Johnson (15 games: 7.9 MIN, 1.8 PTS, 1.5 AST, 31.4 FG%, 26.7 3P%, 33.3 FT%)
  • DeAndre Liggins (17 games: 6.8 MIN, 1.9 PTS, 48.0 FG%, 47.4 FT%)
  • John Lucas (49 games: 14.8 MIN, 7.5 PTS, 2.2 AST, 1.5 REB, 39.9 FG%, 39.3 3P%, 87.5 FT%)
  • Roger Mason (52 games: 13.4 MIN, 5.5 PTS, 1.3 REB, 39.9 FG%, 38.3 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
  • Darius Morris (19 games: 8.9 MIN, 2.4 PTS, 1.1 AST, 42.9 FG%, 44.4 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
  • Jannero Pargo (50 games: 13.4 MIN, 5.6 PTS, 1.9 AST, 1.5 REB, 41.5 FG%, 38.4 3P%, 95.0 FT%)
  • A.J. Price (44 games: 12.9 MIN, 3.9 PTS, 2.0 AST, 1.4 REB, 33.9 FG%, 29.5 3P%, 80.0 FT%)
  • Ronnie Price (36 games: 14.4 MIN, 3.6 PTS, 1.9 AST, 1.6 REB, 37.7 FG%, 29.5 3P%, 80.0 FT%)
  • Walker Russell Jr. (28 games: 12.8 MIN, 3.0 PTS, 2.1 AST, 1.0 REB, 34.7 FG%, 30.8 3P%, 63.6 FT%)
  • Ishmael Smith (26 games: 9.0 MIN, 2.8 PTS, 1.6 AST, 1.3 REB, 38.3 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 70.0 FT%)
  • Donald Sloan (33 games: 20.3 MIN, 5.5 PTS, 3.2 AST, 2.0 REB, 39.9 FG%, 8.0 3P%, 76.7 FT%)
  • Jamaal Tinsley (37 games: 13.7 MIN, 3.7 PTS, 3.3 AST, 1.3 REB, 40.4 FG%, 27.0 3P%, 76.5 FT%)
  • Ben Uzoh (16 games: 22.3 MIN, 4.8 PTS, 4.0 REB, 3.7 AST, 35.1 FG%, 57.9 FT%)
  • Delonte West (44 games: 24.1 MIN, 9.6 PTS, 3.2 AST, 2.3 REB, 1.3 STL, 46.1 FG%, 35.5 3P%, 88.6 FT%)

Given that Rondo plays the large majority of minutes at the point and the Celtics could bring back both Dooling and Moore as reserves for a combined $2.1 million, Ainge will have to tread lightly into the backup point guard free agent waters. While he’ll almost certainly have both the $2 million bi-annual and $5 million mid-level exceptions at his disposal, there are few options on the market worth either of those values. Terry’s value at both backcourt spots makes him one of them, but Rondo, Dooling and Moore once again isn’t the worst-case scenario.

Read More: 2012 NBA Free Agent Rumors, Boston Celtics, E'Twaun Moore, George Hill
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