Celtics Could Land ‘Steal’ of a 3&D Wing via Free Agency

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

Getty Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens looks on before Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

With the Likes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the charge, one could make a strong argument that the Boston Celtics are already set in the star-talent department.

Because of this, making proper tweaks and alterations to their supporting cast should be the highest priority for Brad Stevens and company this offseason, and Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley believes they may want to consider taking a swing at veteran Will Barton in free agency to help better round out their roster and the depth behind the Jays.

Citing their need for added wing help and trusty shot creators, Buckley verbatim suggests the Celtics “need a player like” the 32-year-old.

Of course, highlighted within his argument was Barton’s lowly production during the 2022-23 campaign, something that could certainly insinuate that he’s “washed.” However, should this only be a one-off low point, the wing’s shortcomings could prove to be a win in the eyes of Boston, as it will almost assuredly lessen his projected asking price on the open market.

“His production fell off a cliff in this campaign, which he split between the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors. His 6.8 points and 2.0 assists were his fewest since 2014-15. His 37.9 field-goal percentage was the worst of his career. If this is the 32-year-old’s new reality, he might be washed. But people should be cautious about making that claim already,” Buckley wrote.

Zach Buckley would proceed to note that despite his lackluster showing this past season, his production during the previous seven seasons, particularly in 2021-22 where he posted 14.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists on 36.5% shooting from distance, suggests that his latest campaign could just be a mere outlier which, should this be the case, could land the Celtics an absolute “steal” on the open market.

Thomas Bryant a ‘Bargain’ Target for Celtics

Buckley may believe that the former Nuggets wing Will Barton could be an optimal target for the Celtics to pursue this summer, but should they wish to bolster their big man depth, current Nuggets talent Thomas Bryant is viewed as an intriguing option to consider.

“Thomas Bryant could be a sneaky-good option to stick on the second unit, though. He’s a 6’10”, 248-pound ball of energy who runs the floor and adds value on both ends. The 25-year-old can’t create offense or switch assignments on defense, but he’ll contribute on the interior with blocks, boards and easy buckets. Bryant is even comfortable popping out for perimeter shots (career 118 treys on 36.6 percent shooting), which could help him carve out a regular role on Boston’s bench,” Buckley wrote.

The Celtics may have minimal concerns within their rotation, but one glaring issue they have dealt with over the last several seasons is the questionable health of starting big man, Robert Williams III.

Since entering the league back in 2018, he has been plagued by a plethora of injuries and, as a result, has played in just 209 of a potential total of 390 games, including this past season where he was sidelined for all but 35 games with a myriad of ailments.

Along with adding depth to their wing position, bringing on security options at the pivot should be right up there at the top of Boston’s offseason “to-do list,” and a low-cost option like Thomas Bryant could, as Buckley believes, be a serious “bargain” option.

Since 2018-19, the 25-year-old finds himself boasting sound per-game averages of 10.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and just shy of a block while shooting a highly efficient 60.1% from the field and 37.5% from distance, which could benefit the Celtics greatly when it comes to bettering their floor spacing sets.

Celtics Viewed as a ‘Top Landing Spot’ for Chris Paul

Should the Boston Celtics wish to get a little spicy with their free agency moves, perhaps they may want to look toward recently waived legendary backcourt talent, Chris Paul.

Following an injury-plagued postseason, the Phoenix Suns have opted to go in a different direction and cut ties with the veteran point guard.

Despite his recent health woes and his ripe age of 38, Paul has made every indication that he plans on playing beyond this year, and, according to Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale, Boston could be a legitimate landing spot for his services.

“CP3 would be the perfect addition for an offense that, despite ranking third in half-court efficiency, too often descended into turbulence,” Favale wrote. “There is inherent variability when teams depend on the three-ball as much as the Celtics do, but they are too easily nudged away from their best practices and into turnover tumults when shots aren’t falling, or the rate of play slows.”

This past season, despite his ailments, Paul still proved to be rather productive, boasting per-game averages of 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 8.9 assists while shooting 44% from the field and 37.5% from deep.

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