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Celtics free agent options at center redux 11.28.11 at 4:00 pm ET
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Shortly after last season, we examined the free agent options that will be available to the Celtics at each position. The new (tentative) labor deal has changed the landscape a bit, and some previously available players either retired (Yao Ming), re-signed with their old teams (i.e., Nazr Mohammed and Greg Oden) or signed overseas (i.e., J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin), so it’s worthwhile to reexamine those options.

We’€™ll roll out one positional breakdown each day this week, starting 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.

As a result, don’€™t expect any big-name free agents. So, let’€™s start by crossing Nene, Tyson Chandler, Greg Oden ($8.8 million qualifying offer) and Marc Gasol ($4.5 million Q.O.) off the list of potential targets. While any of those three would be a fantastic fit on the 2011-12 Celtics, they’€™re all out of their league.

Without further ado, let’€™s take another 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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Read More: 2011 NBA free agents, Boston Celtics, Joel Przybilla, Kurt Thomas
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