The Boston Celtics have an inordinate amount of bodies in their backcourt. Although some would argue they still lack a lead-guard following the departure of Kemba Walker. The idea they could find such a player in the current state of the free agency/trade market would likely be a stretch. Of course, the additions of Dennis Schroder, Kris Dunn and Josh Richardson over the past month have certainly buffed up the guard group, but one NBA columnist believes there could still be work to be done on that front.
With Denzel Valentine’s tenure in Chicago looking all but over, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey has labeled the former lottery pick as the one free agent the Celtics “could still sign.”
“When most of your bases are covered, more help on the wings is a good default to fall back on. In today’s NBA, you seemingly can’t have enough switchability and versatility at spots 1 through 4,” wrote Bailey. “And hoping Denzel Valentine recaptures his form from 2017-18 is worth a minimum contract. That season, he put up 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 27.2 minutes while shooting 38.6 percent from three.”
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Coach Udoka Hints at More Veteran Additions
It’s important to note that any addition to Boston’s roster would come at the expense of a current player. Thanks to the addition of Schroder, the team is already above the league’s maximum 15-man roster, and that’s before taking stashed guard Yam Madar into consideration. With that said, head coach Ime Udoka doesn’t sound all too fazed by the prospect of needing to further reshuffle his roster until he and president Brad Stevens find the proper mix to truly compete in the Eastern Conference.
“We wanted to add some veterans to the mix,” Udoka said about roster changes, via Mass Live. “Obviously, we talk enough about Jaylen [Brown] and Jayson [Tatum]. But bringing the right veterans in, whether it’s leadership, vocals, solidifying out lineups, whether it’s bench or starters. I think adding the right mix of veterans, it helped getting Al [Horford] back. He’s a voice that everybody respects and then you bring in a guy like Josh Richardson and some of the other guys we’re looking at bringing in, I think it was more so a veteran mix to complement our younger guys.”
Does Valentine Fit in Boston?
As Bailey alluded to, should Valentine come on a minimum contract, why not? While his shooting prowess at Michigan State (44.4% as a senior) hasn’t fully transferred over to the pros, he has flashed upside from beyond the arc. In 2017, the former Spartan knocked down 38.6% from 3-point range over 77 games. With the exit of Evan Fournier, and the uncertainty of Marcus Smart’s long-term future and Josh Richardson’s immediate future in Boston, adding another versatile guard/wing to the roster couldn’t hurt.
Valentine isn’t the only player with ties to Chicago that the Celtics could presumably add this offseason. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that Boston is one of four teams — the Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves being the others — who have shown interest in signing Markkanen to a deal worth “around $15 million in average.”