Celtics Warned Against Trading For $46 Million Backup Center

Al Horford, Boston Celtics

Getty Al Horford, Boston Celtics

Despite a strong start to the season, the Boston Celtics could still benefit from some additional help in the front court, be it a forward or a center.

However, according to Brian Robb of Masslive.com, the Celtics should avoid getting into a trade discussion for out-of-favor Sacramento Kings big man, Richaun Holmes, most notably due to his contract value and crossover in skillset with Robert Williams.

“Holmes is definitely an intriguing name although it looks like he’s on a bloated contract now after becoming an afterthought on the Kings’ bench. That salary is the reason I would steer clear of him, along with the fact that his offensive skillset is fairly redundant to Rob Williams. He would be a nice insurance policy to have in the middle but I don’t think the Celtics want to pay a backup center over $11 million per year at this point,” Robb wrote on November 11.

Holmes, 29, has seen his role within the Kings’ rotation diminish this season, and as such, is only providing the team with four points, and 2.9 rebounds per game, although he is converting his shots at a 70% clip, although it’s likely the majority of those attempts are coming at the rim.

Brad Stevens Earns Praise For Roster Re-Construction

One of the reasons a player like Holmes wouldn’t be desirable for the Celtics is due to the fantastic roster they already have in place, and the diversity of skillsets at each position. While it remains true that Boston requires an upgraded frontcourt player off their bench, it’s safe to say the Celtics still boast one of the deepest teams in the NBA.

On a November 8 episode of Jalen & Jacoby, Jalen Rose shared his thoughts on the job Brad Stevens has done in rebuilding the Celtics roster since taking the role of President of Basketball Operations. 

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“I like how the Celtics solidified their backcourt over the last couple of years, with White and then this off-season adding Brogdon to go with Marcus Smart. So, what that did, is it takes Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown out of having to create offense for themselves and everyone each possession. So, as you notice, as Jayson Tatum has gotten stronger, you see him finishing at the hoop, you see him hanging on the rim in the half-court…Also, it’s always good to season seasoned veteran Al Horford out there giving him quality minutes,” Rose said.

Of course, there is always room to improve, and nothing is ever perfect. However, in just over a year, Stevens has resolved a significant portion of the Celtics’ primary issues in terms of playing style, player personnel, and team culture.

Celtics Still Searching For Defensive Identity

A primary reason why the Celtics made it to the NBA Finals last season is because of their intense defensive identity, which saw Boston become the league leader in defensive rating throughout the regular season.

However, to begin this new basketball year, the Celtics are still finding their way on that side of the court, which has led Joe Mazzulla to begin challenging his team to lock in on defense. 

“[We’re] 3-0 in our last three games because of our defensive execution and our offensive management and organization. Let that be a springboard for our defense. That defense was who we were and what helped us get there. That’s got to be our identity, along with our offense. That’s a hell of a job. Our shifts, our intentionality, and our attention to detail,” Mazzulla said.

Regardless of if the Celtics decide to acquire some fresh front-court talent this season, the team hasn’t lost any of its core players this past off-season, so they’re more than capable of finding that same defensive intensity we saw them playing with last season, it will just take some time to fine-tune.

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