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Celtics free-agent options at center 06.27.11 at 6:46 pm ET
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Sure, the NBA is on the precipice of a July 1 lockout, but we can still examine what options will be available to the Celtics at each position once the salary cap landscape is determined (God knows when). We’€™ll start with the C’€™s biggest need: Centers.

The Celtics started the 2010-11 season with four centers on the roster (Kendrick Perkins, Shaquille O’€™Neal, Jermaine O’€™Neal and Semih Erden) along with sometimes center Glen Davis. Now, a year later, only JO remains from that list. While Big Baby remains an option depending on his value on the open market, the C’€™s still need at least one if not two more guys who can play the five.

The Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Kevin Garnett, $21.2; Paul Pierce, $15.33; Ray Allen, $10; Rajon Rondo, $10; Jermaine O’€™Neal, $6.23; Avery Bradley, $1.53), and Jeff Green is due at least another $5.91 million this offseason. That leaves little wiggle room for Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, no matter how the collective bargaining agreement shakes out.

As a result, don’€™t expect any big-name free agents. So, let’€™s start by crossing Nene (early termination option), Marc Gasol ($4.5 million qualifying offer) and Tyson Chandler (unrestricted) off the list of potential targets. While any of those three would be a fantastic fit on the 2011-12 Celtics (assuming, of course, there’€™s a 2011-12 season in the NBA), they’€™re all out of their league.

Without further ado, let’€™s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at center, separating the current free-agent players into four categories ‘€¦

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