If the past few days have shown us anything, it’s that president Brad Stevens will not be complacent during his first summer on the job. A little over a month removed from trading their starting point guard, Kemba Walker, to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Boston Celtics sent shock waves throughout the NBA with a flurry of trades less than 24 hours removed from the NBA Draft.
Gone is last year’s starting center Tristan Thompson, as is the recently acquired Moses Brown. Incoming is former top-five pick Kris Dunn, center Bruno Fernando and defensive-minded wing Josh Richardson. And by the sound of it, the roster shuffle is far from over.
Dunn may be on the move yet again, while Evan Fournier’s contract negations have hit a near standstill. Add in Boston’s reported interest in point guard Lonzo Ball and sharpshooter Patty Mills and the Celtics could be bolstering a vastly different lineup come tipoff of the 2021 NBA season.
Now, The Athletic’s Jay King has thrown another notable name in the ring of free agent possibilities to keep an eye on.
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The Athletic Calls on Celtics to Sign Otto Porter Jr.
Otto Porter Jr. is coming off a monstrous $106 million contract. However, the unrestricted free agent is expected to be had for far less this time around on the open market, and could prove to be an ideal match for the Celtics as a combo guard with the ability to stretch the floor. With that said, bringing Porter to Beantown doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Yet, at King’s projected contract, taking a flyer becomes much more reasonable.
Sign Otto Porter to a two-year, $12.1 million contract
The Celtics would need to be sure Porter is healthy and dedicated. His numbers have really fallen off over the past couple of years. He looked creaky and out of shape in Chicago and Orlando this past season. But Porter can really shoot. He’s 6-foot-8 with an extremely long wingspan. And he’s just two years removed from averaging 13.9 points and 5.6 rebounds. If he has juice left, he could provide great value at the taxpayer mid-level exception. Porter has made 40.2 percent of 3-point attempts throughout his career.
The 6-foot-8-inch forward made his way to Orlando at this past season’s trade deadline as part of the trade package the shipped Nikola Vucevic to the Chicago Bulls. Porter’s time with the Magic was eerily similar to his in Chicago, as he continued to put forth subpar production as he battled through injury. Since 2019, the Georgetown product has appeared in just 42 games, including only three with Orlando last season. Over that time frame, he’s averaged just 10.8 points per game. With that said, if Porter proves to be both healthy and in shape, the 28-year-old could be a major steal at his projected price point.
This wouldn’t be the first time Porter has been linked to the Celtics. Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz listed him among Boston’s free agency big-board back in April. Even before that there were whispers that Porter could be a buyout target for the Cs after he initially was dealt to the Magic.
When right, Porter checks off all the boxes of a prototypical 3-and-D wing who has proven to be a sniper from beyond the arc — owning a career 3-point shooting percentage of 40.2%. However, if Boston gets “bad intel” on the Missouri native, King has a fallback option in mind.
If the Celtics get bad intel on Porter, they could offer a similar deal to another wing like David Nwaba. He’s not nearly as dangerous a shooter as Porter, but has plus athleticism and physicality and would give Boston another versatile defender off the bench.
Nwaba, 28, has bounced around the NBA throughout his career, spending time with the Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets and most recently, the Houston Rockets. In 2020-21, Nwaba averaged a career-high 9.2 points to go along with 3.2 rebounds per game. He’s not nearly the 3-point threat that Porter is (32.3% career 3-point percentage). Yet, he does offer some defensive chops and was named to the NBA D-League All-Defensive Team in 2017.