The Boston Celtics still boast numerous open roster spots, despite the fact the new season is starting to draw near.
However, keeping a couple of openings at the tail-end of the roster is starting to look like a blessing, as it will allow Brad Stevens to acquire a replacement for Danilo Gallinari, should he choose to do so.
Luckily, there are a number of talented veterans still available on the free agency market, some of whom would provide the Celtics with a reliable scoring presence off the bench.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Bobby Krivitsky, LaMarcus Aldridge is the player the Celtics should covet, if they’re looking to find a replacement for the role Gallinari was going to play in the upcoming season.
“He and Udoka spent time together in San Antonio and Brooklyn. Last season, Aldridge averaged 12.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and a block per game in 22.3 minutes of floor time in 47 appearances. However, he was not a part of the Nets’ playoff rotation.
Still, he would add more scoring, he’s a more natural option to play the pivot defensively than Gallinari would’ve been, he’ll help on the glass, and the Celtics wouldn’t have to part with any players or picks to acquire him,” Krivitsky wrote.
The downside to adding Aldridge is that his mobility is vastly reduced, meaning he would struggle to keep pace in Boston’s up-tempo offense, while on defense he would be consigned to dropping into the paint to protect the rim – a role Luke Kornet is expected to fill.
Boston ‘Have Interest’ In Carmelo Anthony
Should Stevens and head coach Ime Udoka decide that Aldridge’s lack of mobility and pace wouldn’t suit their brand of basketball, they could turn their attention to veteran scorer, Carmelo Anthony.
The former New York Knicks superstar has re-defined himself as a reliable veteran off the bench, who can give you buckets in a hurry without commanding significant touches of the ball – which is a long way from the player he was in his prime.
According to Gary Washburn, the Celtics hold some interest in potentially adding Anthony to the roster, as they see him as the best pure scorer on the market, and it wouldn’t cost them any assets to bring him into the fold.
“This is starting to gain traction because Anthony may be the best shooting forward left on the market, and he has shown to be productive offensively despite his age…Anthony has remained in great shape and can still score. He had 20 or more points in 11 games last season and played 26 minutes per game, showing his durability. Anthony wants an opportunity to win a championship, and this could be his best chance,” Washburn wrote in his August 5 article.
Sam Hauser Could be Boston’s In-House Replacement
Should the Celtics decide to stand pat on bringing in any additional talent before training camp, then it’s likely the team would turn their attention toward sophomore sharpshooter Sam Hauser as Gallinari’s replacement.
Hauser, who joined the Celtics as an undrafted rookie last season, would ensure Boston doesn’t add any further salary to their books, and also offers developmental upside due to his age and ability to score off the catch and from movement – such as curling over screens.
NBC Sport’s Boston’s Chris Forsberg recently explored the notion of giving Hauser a bigger role as part of his September 6 mailbag article, where he explained the upside of giving a younger talent time to prove themselves rather than bringing in a veteran that has failed to find themselves a new team throughout the summer.
“Teams sometimes rush too quick to fill voids and there really shouldn’t be too much urgency from the Celtics in the aftermath of Gallinari’s injury. Anyone that’s available now has been sitting there since the start of the summer. Why not evaluate what you’ve got, particularly when there could be other areas of need down the road?
The team’s luxury tax situation will ensure they ponder every dollar spent the rest of the season. It’s important to remember that if Boston signs Carmelo Anthony — or any established veteran — to a one-year deal, they cannot waive that player without losing the league-funded savings for signing that veteran,” Forsberg wrote.
The biggest knock on Hauser’s game last season was his inability to be a reliable defender, but considering Gallinari was never acquired for his defense, Hauser could find himself perfectly positioned to step into a significant role increase for the season ahead.