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Before the blockbuster trade that sent Isaiah Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics was finalized yesterday, the Celtics had 16 players battling for 15 roster spots. Of course, most of the team was already set in stone, but players like Daniel Theis, Shane Larkin, and Semi Ojeleye were battling to prove their worth and secure that 15th space. Now that the Cs have exchanged three players for one, that final position has opened, each of the competing players have found temporary safety on our team, and one extra roster spot has opened up. The question is: who will be the addition that fills that void?

Lets start with who we've already got. Recently, Danny Ainge and the front office brought in Andrew White, an un-drafted guard out of Syracuse who played in the Summer League with Cleveland this year. They also signed another guard, Daniel Dixon, who played all four of his years in the NCAA with the College of William and Mary. With their partially guaranteed deals complete, these players will see most of their time in Maine with the Celt's NBA G-League team, the Red Claws. They may see some minutes this season, but neither guys have solidified themselves as true NBA talent. At least not yet. 
A lot of people are hollering from their rooftops that we need to sign Nerlens Noel. While that'd be a fantastic addition to the team, it's an impossible signing, because Noel is a restricted free agent, and the Celtics are over the salary cap. Whoever the Cs sign will have to be paid the NBA minimum wage, and because the Dallas Mavericks have extended a qualifying offer to Nerlens, they can match whichever contract offer that he accepts, forcing Noel to stay in Texas. Noel accepting a minimum deal in Boston would be a gift to the Mavericks, who would be getting a promising young player in exchange for pocket change. 

The only way that the Celtics can get a real NBA talent is to do it through a sign-and-trade, and for that to happen, we'd have to give up some players. While it's a possibility and an exciting idea, I think that it's unlikely, although Trader Danny hinted that it could be an option, and with mysterious, secretive Danny at the helms, we never really know who he's considering. 

The likely player who the Celtics will add will either be a young rookie who hasn't found a home yet, or an old guy who will sign for cheap. One very possible option is last year's Best Teammate, Gerald Green, who could re-sign his veteran's minimum deal for over 1.5 million dollars. I've also heard rumors of signing another former Celtic, Tony Allen. While he's lost a step or two over the years, he's still one of the league's top defenders, and would be a nice addition in our shallow shooting guard area of depth. After losing Avery Bradley in a heart-breaking trade to the Detroit Pistons, Allen could be just the guy to fill Bradley's vacant role as our premier defender, and would be a great mentor to our other premier perimeter defenders of Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier



While I'd love signing these guys to the two spot, where we lack some true shooting guards, I'm unsure whether they're the best guys to add to the team, because the area that we really need to boost is where our big men stand. Many of our bigs are first year players, and most of our power forwards 
could realistically be subbed in to play small forward as well, so adding a veteran four or five could be beneficial. 

There are a lot of available players who could still have some potential in them, and they could fit in similarly to how Evan Turner did when he joined the Cs, as a player who had been a bust so far in his career, but ended up flourishing in Brad Stevens' system. Derrick Williams is still young enough at 26 years old, and in 2011 he was the number two overall pick in the NBA Draft, and at the same age is Thomas Robinson, who was picked in the top-five the year afterward. Both have been underwhelming the past few seasons, averaging less than 20 minutes and seven points per game, but who knows? They could become Lazarus in Boston. 

Out of players who are still unsigned, the name that really sticks out to me is Boris Diaw. He's a versatile big man who reminds me a lot of a lesser Al "Big Money" Horford. He can pass, he can shoot, and he's got some Paul Pierce-esque footwork, which could also benefit our new prodigy Jayson Tatum. I hope that this roster spot is used for a mentorship role, like Boris would be used as, because what we could really use is some experience on our young team; someone who will be happy giving advice to our young players who haven't logged any minutes yet. Gerald Green filled that role last year, and Diaw could be the next coach's assistant who we sign. 

I'm also intrigued by Larry Sanders, who came out of retirement at the end of last season to join the Cavs in their championship pursuit. Apparently he's had some mental instability in his career, resulting in his premature retirement, but when this guy was starting for the Milwaukee Bucks, he averaged something nuts like four blocks per game, and he's still got some mileage in him at 28 years old. If he can get back into basketball shape, I'd for sure give him a look. 

Another option that Danny could exercise would be to sign no one! This would give the Celt's front office some breathing room, and leave space for the opportunity to explore a number of different options. Who knows, maybe something that isn't available now will be up for grabs in a month. 
I think all we can do is have trust in Danny, and wait it out. Whatever he decides, I'm sure it'll be a move to reckon with.

Photo: Danny Ainge

Odie Waukewan 8/23/2017 09:43:00 PM Edit
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