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Irish Coffee: Celtics Rumors 911 (Episode 2) 11.29.11 at 11:28 am ET
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It’s Episode 2 of a show we’ll call “Rumors 911″ from here on out, as the water cooler boils over with scuttlebutt (Ok, that doesn’t sound right …) and nobody’s name is off limits in Boston — if only because Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge likes it that way.

Today’s Celtics-related topics of conversation: Mavericks free agent center Tyson Chandler (yes please!), Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (God no!) and Knicks free agent guard Roger Mason Jr. (so what!).

First, the longshot: Discussing high-profile free agents on NBA TV, NBA.com’s David Aldridge rather calmly slipped in this gem: “Boston is a team that has very few players under contract right now and desperately needs a center. They’re looking very hard at Tyson Chandler” (h/t Red’s Army).

The first two parts of that comment are entirely true, considering Jermaine O’Neal is the lone center on a C’s roster with just six players under contract enter the Dec. 9 free agency period. The latter portion of Aldridge’s statement are curious, if only for the obvious question: How?

  • Option No. 1: A sign-and-trade deal with the Mavericks involving Chandler and Glen Davis. Of course, Mark Cuban would probably have to assume Jermaine O’Neal‘s $6.2 million expiring contract, Ainge would likely have to sweeten the deal with Avery Bradley and that still might not be the best offer Dallas receives.
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Read More: Boston Celtics, Chris Paul, NBA, Rajon Rondo
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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