Now that the Boston Celtics season is officially over, Brad Stevens and the front office can begin work on improving the team’s current roster.
Throughout the Celtics’ post-season run, it became clear the team needs an additional wing to help ease the burden on the shoulder of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Of course, finding a wing player that can provide reliable impact on both sides of the floor isn’t an easy task – especially when working within the confines of the salary cap.
However, one player that is hitting the free agency market and could fill Boston’s needs is Kyle Anderson. The 28-year-old wing is coming off the back of another impressive season for the Memphis Grizzlies and has proven himself to be a reliable bench piece on a playoff team.
According to Keith Smith of Spotrac, Anderson is just one of multiple wings the Celtics could target in free agency, all of whom would make sense from an on-court perspective.
“The free-agent market is full of capable frontcourt options, and several will also be available via trade. Free-agent targets that make sense for Boston are Kyle Anderson, Otto Porter Jr., Trey Lyles (if the Kings decline his option), Isaiah Hartenstein, and Robin Lopez,” Smith wrote.
What Would Anderson Bring to the Table?
Sure, Anderson plays the game at his own pace, and often looks like he’s too slow to be impactful – earning him the nickname ‘Slo-Mo’ – however, when you watch him play, it’s clear that he’s a genuine hooper.
As a scorer, Anderson can give you a solid return as a catch-and-shoot threat in the corner, having drained 42% of his attempts this season, but he can also provide you with mid-level scoring and convert at a 60% clip around the rim. The six-foot-nine scorer is capable across all three scoring levels, even if he doesn’t excel at anything in particular.
Ime Udoka also likes his wings to be competent playmakers, and Anderson can fulfill that role during bench minutes, having averaged 2.7 assists per game last season, and had a career-high of 3.6 dimes per game the year before.
Of course, if you want playing time on Udoka’s Celtics team, you have to be a high-level defender. And while Anderson isn’t a world-beater, he has proven to be reliable on the perimeter and capable when switching up or down a position or two. The New Jersey native’s size and length provide him with the physical tools required to play within Boston’s high-intensity defensive scheme, and given his performances over the last few seasons, there should be no concerns about his willingness to lock in.
Making the Money Work
It’s clear that Anderson would be a great fit with Boston’s second unit, he brings scoring, playmaking, defense, and veteran experience – but would he be willing to sign at a discount in order to contend with the Celtics.
Heading into the off-season, the Celtics project to have the Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception, worth around $6.3 million. If Anderson was to sign on for the taxpayer MLE, he would be taking a $3 million per year salary drop, which when you consider his individual improvements, could be a stumbling block.
However, Boston is coming off the back of an NBA Finals run, and despite losing to the Golden State Warriors, has proven themselves as potential champions in the near future. So, a lot would depend on Anderson’s desire to win a championship. Of course, the multi-skilled wing could sign a one-year deal, with the hopes that playing on a bigger stage with a contending team could earn him a larger salary next season.
Only Anderson knows the answers to those questions, but one thing’s for sure – he fills every need the Celtics have on the wing, and would instantly upgrade their bench rotation on both sides of the floor.