Green Target: Greg Stiemsma

The Fans at TD Garden love the Stiemer.
Greg Stiemsma was just released by the Timberwolves on Sunday night.  Stiemsma signed a two year $5.3 million contract with Minnesota before last year, but this season (and $2.7 mil) was non-guaranteed.  The T-wolves had until July 17 to decide whether or not to pick up his option for 2013-14.  Stiemsma's agent called it a "cap move," and believes there is still a decent chance the center may stay in Minnesota.  But at the moment Stiemsma is an unrestricted free agent, so let's examine the possibility of him returning to the Celtics.

In 2011 Stiemsma came out of nowhere in training camp as a 26 year old rookie to snag one of the C's final roster spots.  His hustle, energy, and shot blocking prowess off the bench quickly made him a favorite of the Garden crowd (in fact Stiemsma actually led the entire NBA in blocks per 48 minutes for much of the 2011-2012 season).  After playing for the rookie minimum of $762,000, Stiemsma parlayed his 2.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 14 minutes per game for Boston into a 2.6 million dollar pay day from the Wolves (that also gave him the chance to be closer to home).  The Wisconsin native upped his numbers slightly last year, averaging 4 PTS, 3.4 REB, and 1.2 BLK in 16 minutes a night.

While the list of potential big man options the Celtics have is long (Kris Humphries, Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, Shavlik Randolph, Kelly Olynyk, Fab Melo, Colton Iverson, D.J. White), it is also extremely thin.  Not to mention the fact that the only two who may actually qualify as centers have little (Melo) to no (Iverson) NBA experience.  If you added Stiemsma to that list it wouldn't even surprise me to see him win the starting job, or at the very least be a solid contributor.

It makes sense for a number or reasons: In a year where C's fans may not have a lot to cheer about, bringing back a popular name could be a wise PR move on Danny Ainge's part.  Stiemsma also seems like the perfect type of guy to have around for a rebuilding project; he's young but has some experience, very affordable, hard working, and likely a solid influence on the younger guys.  Plus if tanking really is the goal, Stiemsma is exactly the kind of free agent you sign that you don't have to worry about winning you too many games (take a look at what ML Carr had to say about trying to lose on purpose in 1996-97).  And best of all, it'd give me the opportunity to bust out my #54 shirt and wear it to the Garden again (yes, I actually own a Stiemsma t-shirt).

More of our Green Target 2013 series here.

Follow Mark on twitter @LucidSportsFan