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2014 NBA free agent power forwards available to Celtics

06.30.14 at 2:35 pm ET
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With NBA free agency opening Tuesday, we continue our annual examination of the options available to the Celtics at each position. Today’s focus: Power forwards. Unlike recent seasons, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is expected to have more flexibility than any summer since 2007 when the league’s moratorium on free agent signings is lifted and the salary cap (an estimated $63.2 million) is officially set on July 10.

The Celtics have eight players under guaranteed contracts in 2014-15 for $48.5 million (Rajon Rondo $12.9M; Gerald Wallace $10.1M; Jeff Green $9.2M; Brandon Bass $6.9M; Joel Anthony $3.8M; Vitor Faverani $2.1M; Kelly Olynyk $2.1M; Jared Sullinger $1.4M) as well as $4.1 million in cap holds for first-round picks Marcus Smart and James Young. Pending decisions on or by Kris Humphries, Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless, the C’s could have as much as $10 million in cap space — or more if they use the stretch provision on Wallace.

As currently constituted, the Celtics already have a logjam at power forward with Bass, Sullinger and Olynyk on the roster, but all three of those names will continue to be raised in trade discussions as Ainge straddles the fence between rebuilding and reloading this summer. As the C’s retool the roster, any combination of that trio could need replacing through free agency. Just don’t hold your breath for Chris Bosh or Dirk Nowitzki.

Without further ado, let’€™s take a look at their options, separating the current free agents into three categories.

THE BRANDON BASSES

An argument could be made Bass was the best player on the Celtics this past season. The 29-year-old certainly was their most consistent, and his expiring $6.9 million contract also makes him a valuable trade asset. Should the C’s lose Bass in landing another star player and need veteran help for a playoff run, these are your guys.

RICH MAN: PAU GASOL

Status: Unrestricted

2013-14: 1,884 min, 17.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.5 bpg, 52.2 TS%, 19.3 PER

Why? There’s no doubt Gasol will make a playoff team more dangerous. He’s still one of the most skilled bigs in the game and has championship pedigree.

Why not? Considering the Knicks, Bulls, Mavericks, Rockets, Warriors and Lakers are all rumored suitors, it’s unlikely the 33-year-old will land in Boston.

COMMON MAN: KRIS HUMPHRIES

Status: Unrestricted

2013-14: 1,376 min, 8.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.0 apg, 55.2 TS%, 18.2 PER

Why? Forget all the Kardashian nonsense. Humphries emerged as the unlikeliest of likable characters in the Celtics locker room this past season, providing leadership, professionalism and consistent effort in a tumultuous season.

Why not? There’s little doubt Hump will command less than the $12 million he earned in 2013-14, but the question is how much less. A career double-double per 36 minutes guy, he’d be best suited contributing on a veteran team.

POOR MAN: BORIS DIAW

Status: Unrestricted

2013-14: 1,974 min, 9.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.8 apg, 57.8 TS%, 14.1 PER

Why? Frankly, Diaw’s playoff production was astounding. Once a key contributor on the seven-seconds-or-less Suns, he’s developed into a difference-making playmaker on a more methodical juggernaut in San Antonio.

Why not? It’s hard to imagine a more perfect fit for the 32-year-old than the Spurs. Having spent two years in Charlotte, he’s probably more prone to sticking with a playoff team, especially with $60 million in career earnings. 

HOMELESS MEN: Andray Blatche (1,618 min, 11.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.0 spg, 53.2 TS%, 18.8 PER); Drew Gooden (395 min, 8.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 59.1 TS%, 18.4 PER); Elton Brand (1,414 min, 5.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 1.0 apg, 56.1 TS%, 14.0 PER); Glen Davis (1,662 min, 9.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.1 apg, 49.1 TS%, 13.1 PER); Charlie Villanueva (180 min, 4.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 46.9 TS%, 12.7 PER); Udonis Haslem (653 min, 3.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 52.3 TS%, 10.5 PER); Matt Bonner (690 min, 3.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 58.2 TS%, 11.2 PER).

THE JARED SULLINGERS

After back surgery cut his rookie season short, Sullinger returned to play 74 games this past season, showing double-double potential. Conditioning remains a concern, but the 22-year-old has reportedly dedicated his summer to dropping 20 pounds. He too is a valuable trade asset, so this group includes other youthful alternatives.

Josh McRoberts

Josh McRoberts

RICH MAN: JOSH McROBERTS

Status: Unrestricted

2013-14: 2,360 min, 8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.3 apg, 54.8 TS%, 13.8 PER

Why? At age 27, McBob enjoyed a career year during Charlotte’s surprising run to the playoffs. In terms of skill set, he’s a younger Boris Diaw, only hairier.

Why not? Speaking of long-haired stretch 4′s, Olynyk has shown enough signs to warrant playing time on a young roster over someone like McRoberts.

COMMON MAN: ED DAVIS

Status: Unrestricted

2013-14: 956 min, 5.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 54.2 TS%, 15.9 PER

Why? Once considered a prized recruit coming out of high school in 2008, Davis has yet to reach that potential, but his numbers projected over 36 minutes per game (11.9 points, 10.2 rebounds) continue to show signs.

Why not? While he might be worth the gamble for a young team capable of offering big minutes, Davis would be redundant on a rebuilding Celtics team and a downgrade if Ainge goes the reloading route.

POOR MAN: JORDAN HILL

Status: Unrestricted

2013-14: 1,500 min, 9.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 57.9 TS%, 19.3 PER

Why? Always a workhorse on the glass, Hill took a step forward offensively at age 25, shooting better than 50 percent from the field for the first time in a five-year career that has seen him in three different jerseys.

Why not? As was the case with most players on the Lakers roster, Hill’s numbers benefited from playing for a terrible team this past season. Besides, the Lakers, Mavericks and Rockets are already rumored to be in pursuit.

HOMELESS MEN: DeJuan Blair (1,214 min, 6.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 55.7 TS%, 17.3 PER); Patrick Patterson (1,533 min, 8.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.2 apg, 53.3 TS%, 14.6 PER); Mike Scott (1,482 min, 9.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 55.9 TS%, 15.3 PER); Jason Smith (830 min, 9.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 49.5 TS%, 12.4 PER); Jeff Adrien (961 min, 6.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 55.3 TS%, 17.4 PER); Kevin Seraphin (578 min, 4.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 53.3 TS%, 12.5 PER); Ryan Kelly, restricted (1,312 min, 8.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 54.8 TS%, 12.6 PER); Jan Vesely (776 min, 3.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.0 spg, 49.8 TS%, 12.7 PER).

THE CHRIS WILCOX HONORARIES

Either not worth the asking price or not worth any price, these guys are a dime a dozen and wouldn’€™t be an upgrade over Wilcox or any other available power forwards at the league minimum. Thanks, but no thanks.

Trevor Booker: 1,553 min, 6.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 56.3 TS%, 15.0 PER
Earl Clark: 768 min, 4.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 46.6 TS%, 9.1 PER
Al Harrington: 511 min, 6.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 50.6 TS%, 9.7 PER
Antawn Jamison: 248 min, 3.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 40.8 TS%, 7.8 PER
Grant Jerrett (D-League): 790 min, 15.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 54.2 TS%, 15.1 PER
James Johnson: 956 min, 7.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.1 bpg, 55.2 TS%, 18.5 PER
Ivan Johnson (China): 788 min, 26.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 2.9 spg, 1.9 apg, 59.6 TS%, 32.8 PER
Kenyon Martin: 633 min, 4.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.6 apg, 52.1 TS%, 12.2 PER
Byron Mullens: 414 min, 4.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 54.4 TS%, 12.8 PER
Tyrus Thomas: 360 min, 4.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 41.8 TS%, 9.6 PER
Jeremy Tyler: 398 min, 3.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 53.2 TS%, 13.0 PER
Ekpe Udoh, restricted: 804 min, 3.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 44.0 TS%, 7.6 PER
D.J. White: 10 min, 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.0 TS%, 2.4 PER
Royce White: 9 min, 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg, 0.0 TS%, -8.3 PER

Outside of Bosh, Nowitzki and Gasol, believe it or not, there isn’t a true upgrade at power forward available on the free agent market. The likelihood of any of those three players ending up in green is as slim as a Hollywood actress, so don’t be surprised if Bass, Sullinger and Olynyk round out the position once again this winter.

Obviously, a trade could change everything, especially since all three of those Celtics have been rumored in deals for Kevin Love. If the C’s were to be in the market for a backup 4, Humphries offers another in-house solution.

Read More: 2014 NBA Free Agency, Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger
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