|Options dwindling for the Celtics in their big man seach||03.21.12 at 11:35 pm ET|
The Celtics lost out on Ronny Turiaf when the veteran signed with the Heat. They lost out on J.J. Hickson when the Blazers were awarded the waiver claim. They even lost out on Chris Johnson, when the one-time Celtic was claimed off waivers by the Hornets.
Where does that leave the Celtics? The two names still in circulation are Ryan Hollins and journeyman Josh Powell. Here’s the take on Hollins: He’s 7-feet tall with a decent touch around the basket, but he’s a poor rebounder who lost his spot in the Cavs’ rotation to rookie Tristan Thompson.
Still, Hollins is better than Powell and would serve an immediate need considering the sore foot that Greg Stiemsma is currently playing through. If anything happens to Stiemsma, the Celtics are in major trouble and it could lead to Kevin Garnett playing more minutes than the team would like.
In order to add Hollins — or anyone else for the matter — the Celtics would have to make room on their roster by waiving one of their players. Chris Wilcox is out for the season and will undergo heart surgery later this month and Jermaine O’Neal decided to have wrist surgery and will also miss the rest of the season.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, they wouldn’t be able to re-sign a player they waived for at least a year so if they have any interest in bringing Wilcox back, they’d keep him on the roster.
This Friday is the deadline for players to be bought out/waived and still be eligible for the postseason on another team. As a reminder, players can sign at any time up until the last day of the regular season and still be eligible for the postseason as long as they are not on someone else’s roster by the Friday deadline.
|Celtics’ big man search: Boris Diaw||at 10:09 am ET|
As the Celtics search to replace Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Wilcox, relieve Kevin Garnett and aid an ailing Greg Stiemsma (sprained right foot), add Bobcats power forward Boris Diaw to a list of available free agent big man targets that already includes Ronny Turiaf, J.J. Hickson and Ryan Hollins.
The Bobcats and the 6-foot-8, 235-pound (yeah, right) Diaw have reached a buyout agreement on what remains of his $9 million salary this season, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Diaw played a franchise record 258 straight games since being traded from the Suns in 2008 before a conflict with coach Paul Silas led to his benching in seven of their nine games since March 6, the report said.
Naturally, the disconnect resulted from the coach’s perception of Diaw as, in a word, lazy. After all, the NBA’s 2005-06 Most Improved Player entered the league weighing 203 pounds and has since watched his waistline grow considerably in recent years.
Still, he’s averaged 7.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 27.5 minutes a night this season. Playing in all 82 games a a season ago, the eight-year veteran produced 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists.
Diaw ranks last in rebounding rate among power forwards who play 25 minutes a night, according to Hoop Data, but the hope from the Celtics would be that an engaged Diaw could add defense and playmaking.
At least two respected reporters in the field — ESPN’s John Hollinger and Sports Illustrated’s Zach Lowe — suggested the Celtics as a likely destination for Diaw on Twitter.
|Celtics’ big man search: Ryan Hollins||03.20.12 at 1:48 pm ET|
For the last three seasons, Ryan Hollins has been an NBA rotation player. First with Minnesota in 2009 and then with the Cavaliers, Hollins has averaged about five points and three rebounds per game as a 16-minute backup center. He’s 7 feet tall, but there’s really nothing that stands out about his game.
He doesn’t create his own shot and while he has a decent touch around the basket and can make a long-distance jumper on occasion, he’s a career 66 percent free throw shooter. He’s the worst defensive rebounding center among players with 20 or more games who play 10-plus minutes per Hoop Data, and he isn’t much of a shot blocker for a 7-footer.
But Hollins is now available after the Cavaliers waived him, and once he clears waivers he’ll undoubtedly be on the Celtics’ list. Despite his overall mediocrity, Hollins has some value to a team like the Celtics. He is athletic and can run the floor, two areas that are in major need of an upgrade.
He’s a center, and with Greg Stiemsma laboring with a sore right foot, the C’s need some protection behind Kevin Garnett, who has played a lot of minutes –about 34 a night — on this road trip. Hollins isn’t a fun name like J.J. Hickson, or as proven as Ronny Turiaf, but he is healthy and had been regularly up until the trade deadline.
As with the other candidates, the Celtics will have to make room on their roster with 15 players under contract. An obvious choices to be waived is Jermaine O’Neal who elected to have season-ending wrist surgery.
|Celtics’ big man search: J.J. Hickson||03.19.12 at 5:05 pm ET|
It’s not often a team reaches a buyout on a 23-year-old forward who is still on his rookie contract, but that’s what Sacramento has done with J.J. Hickson, per the great Adrian Wojnarowksi of Yahoo! Rare as that move is, it’s even rarer when the team buys out a player when it traded a player — Omri Casspi — and a first-round pick to acquire him, but that’s the Kings these days.
Would he make sense for the Celtics? Sure, but he comes with major caveats.
First, the good news: Hickson can score. He averaged 14 points and 8.7 rebounds for the Cavs in 2010-11. He has a career PER of 14.4 and did we mention he’s only 23 years old?
Now, the bad news: The Cavs traded him after giving him an extended look and he played only 36 games for the Kings while not doing do much with the time he had. Hickson is shooting 37 percent this season. His turnovers are up, his rebounding is down and he’s not exactly known as a defensive force.
Still, Hickson has talent and if he’s available for next to nothing, then it’s a chance the Celtics should take. He clearly has the most upside of anyone currently on the market and they aren’t looking for a 36-minute a night power forward.
However, in order to sign Hickson two things must happen. First, he has to clear waivers and with his low salary (about $2.3 million) and upside, some team may claim him for all of the above reasons. Second, if he does clear waivers, the C’s would have to clear a roster spot by cutting ties with one of their own players.
As with all available big men, the Celtics will have competition. Unlike some veterans, however, they can offer an obvious role as a backup forward and a chance to be part of an interesting rebuilding project while playing alongside Rajon Rondo.
|Celtics’ big man search: Ronny Turiaf||03.18.12 at 2:47 pm ET|
The big man dominoes are starting to fall as the Nuggets waived Ronny Turiaf after acquiring him from the Wizards in a trade deadline deal. Turiaf is a 6-foot-10, 245-pound forward/center who has posted solid seasons with the Lakers, Warriors and Knicks in his seven-year career. He’s good rebounder and defender with good touch near the basket, averaging 10.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The big question with Turiaf is his health. He played only four games for the Wizards due to a broken left hand this season. Turiaf suffered the injury against the Celtics back on Jan. 1 and it was the same hand that he injured over the summer playing for the French national team. He has not played since the injury, and he told The Washington Post in early March:
“If was just me, choosing to play, I would’ve been back a long time ago. They are putting the strain on myself, on me, because they know sometimes, I may not be the most rational guy when comes to help teammates and to do stuff.”
The other issue with Turiaf is his heart, and for a team that has lost two players to aortic surgery that is no small consideration. After Turiaf was drafted by the Lakers in 2005, doctors found an enlarged aortic root and he underwent open heat surgery. The Lakers voided his contract but re-signed him six months later and he was able to resume his career.
If healthy, Turiaf would be a perfect for the Celtics, who desperately need another big man behind Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Greg Stiemsma. Turiaf is versatile enough to play both the center and big forward positions and would provide some needed muscle and size on the interior. With several contending teams look to beef up their frontcourts, the Celtics would certainly have competition for his services.