The Boston Celtics freed up some much-needed cash recently by unloading Kemba Walker’s monster contract, $11.2 million for next season to be exact. With that said, it doesn’t appear as if Brad Stevens and company are planning on splurging this offseason — that is unless Damian Lillard demands his way out of Portland. In reality, most of Boston’s newfound cash will more than likely go towards retaining impending free agent Evan Fournier.
Speaking of Fournier, when the Celtics pulled the trigger on a deadline deal to bring the sharpshooter to Beantown, he only ate up $17 million of the team’s traded player exception from Gordon Hayward. In return, the Cs still have $11 million left on the TPE. This means that Stevens’ best way to bulk up his roster may ultimately be through the trade market.
One player, in particular, to keep an eye on is Memphis Grizzlies wing, Kyle Anderson. According to Mass Live’s Brian Robb, the seven-year veteran has garnered the Celtics’ attention for “quite some time.” Anderson’s expiring contract, which is set to pay him a team-friendly $9.9 million in 2021-22, could be what potentially drives the Celtics to finally pull the trigger.
The Celtics have had their eye on Anderson for quite some time according to league sources. With Memphis having plenty of younger talent on the wing, they may opt to simply add some more assets for the 27-year-old wing entering a contract year. Anderson’s improvement as a 3-point shooter last season, along with his passing, would provide the skillset that makes him a nice fit for Boston.
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Anderson is Coming Off a Career Year
Very rarely do you see an NBA player break out in their seventh season. Yet, that’s exactly the case for Anderson, who nearly set career-highs across the board in 2020-21. In 69 games, the UCLA product averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists, while shooting 36.0% from 3-point range — all of which rank within the top-two outputs of Anderson’s career.
While “shooting with size” was sort of Danny Ainge’s thing, it’s still an asset that the Celtics would likely welcome. The 6-foot-9-inch New York native possesses a 7-foot-2-inch wingspan and has knocked down 50.3% of his field-goal attempts over the last four seasons. Anderson’s well-rounded game also ventures over to the defensive end of the court, where his multifacet skillset allows him to shift between both forward positions seamlessly.
Anderson Fits What Stevens is Looking For
Stevens has been extremely vocal in praising the recently re-acquired Al Horford for what he brings to the table as a locker room presence — arguably more so than what he brings on the hardwood. It’s becoming evident the team’s new president of basketball operations is trying to rewrite the culture in the locker room after a disappointing seventh-seed finish.
Anderson would fit this billing, as he bolsters a winning resume, spending five seasons in San Antonio playing under Gregg Popovich. He’s also well accustomed to both serving as a starter, as well as coming off the bench. While Anderson did start a career-high 69 games this season, he’s come off the bench in 199 of his 436 career games. With Horford and Robert Williams likely eating up minutes in the frontcourt, and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown serving as the team’s primary wing players, chances are Anderson would find a home with the second unit should the Celtics make a run for the savvy veteran this offseason.
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