The Celtics appear to have found a way to keep a hold on center Tacko Fall without committing to a roster packed with five centers.
The team upgraded the two-way deal to which it had signed guard Max Strus to a two-year deal that puts him on the season roster. In doing so, the Celtics created an open spot for a two-way contract, which the team announced would be used to sign Fall to a deal that will allow him to spend the bulk of the year playing for Boston’s G-League affiliate in Maine.
Boston coach Brad Stevens, speaking before the Celtics’ afternoon game here at TD Garden, said he was not sure of the roster machinations.
“That’ll be a front office question for now,” Stevens said. “There’s a lot of moving parts so, to be candid, I am not that alert to it. All those guys have been great. They’re all excellent players, they’re all great people and we’ll see how all that works itself out. From what I know, nothing’s been fully determined yet.”
Fall, an undrafted rookie out of Central Florida who stands 7-5 but plays with athleticism, has become a fan favorite in his limited time in Boston. During the Celtics’ preseason opener last week against the Hornets, the Boston crowd chanted for Fall to enter the game.
The Celtics Have a Crowd at Center
Stevens smiled at that. “There’s only 48 minutes and there’s five guys,” Stevens said. “That’s why, when the Tacko chants come up, it’s like, we’ve still got two more guys to play. It’s part of it. I apologize in advance.”
The Celtics have an excess of bodies available to fill the hole at center, starting with holdover big man Daniel Theis, who has been impressive in the preseason but, at 6-8 and 243 pounds, is undersize.
There’s also free-agent signee Enes Kanter, an offensive-minded big man who struggles defensively and second-year center Robert Williams, who played only 8.8 minutes in 32 games last season but was considered a lottery-level talent before he slipped in the draft.
Then there’s French center Vincent Poirier, who has garnered only 11 minutes in two preseason games. Fall lands after Poirier on the center depth chart.
“Nothing’s decided at that spot,” Stevens said. “Right now, on our roster, if you include Tacko, we have five guys that are all fighting for those minutes and those opportunities. Those will be somewhat fluid game-to-game, but it’s how you’re going to impact the team consistently with your play on both ends.”