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2012-13 Celtics free agent options at point guard

Two-thirds of the Celtics [1] roster that came within a game of reaching a third NBA finals [2] in five years joined NBA free agency over the weekend. While Kevin Garnett [3] became the first to announce his plans to re-sign, everyone from Ray Allen [4] to Greg Stiemsma [5] 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 [6], shooting guards [7], power forwards [8] and small forwards [9]).

Rajon Rondo [10] 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 [11], Jeremy Lin [12], Raymond Felton [13], Jameer Nelson and Jason Kidd [14]. 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 [15]‘s move to the two last season left C’s coach Doc Rivers [16] with Keyon Dooling [17] and E’Twaun Moore [18] 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 [19], $16.8M; Garnett, approximately $11.3M; Rondo, $11.0M; Bradley, $1.6M; JaJuan Johnson [20], $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 [21], Jeff Green [22], Mickael Pietrus [23], Chris Wilcox [24], Ryan Hollins [25], 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.


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.




HOMELESS MEN: Leandro Barbosa [30], 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%).


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.




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%).


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.

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.