4 possible buyout candidates for Celtics

Josue Pavon
February 19, 2019 - 5:44 pm

With one open roster spot available, the Celtics will look into the buyout market as they gear up to finish the regular season and head into the playoffs with extra depth to their second unit.

Boston should consider adding size to its front court. Aron Baynes has been battling injuries all year long, Robert Williams isn’t quite ready to take up big minutes off the bench and Daniel Theis still leaves plenty to be desired on the defensive end of the floor.

What the Celtics need is a defensive-minded big man who can come off the bench and make defensive stops while the starters rest. It’s not a player who’s going to eat up 20-plus minutes and be a game-changer for the Celtics but rather a veteran big man who will provide the extra muscle the Celtics have often needed throughout the second and third quarters, where they tend to squander leads and fall behind.

Here are four possible suitors that the Celtics should consider signing within the next couple of weeks.

Zach Randolph

Reports suggest there is a sizeable market for Randolph’s services as the aging big man is looking to cling onto a playoff team in the twilight of his impressive career. The 37-year-old big man is the kind of toughness the Celtics could use in its second unit.

Randolph was recently waived by the Mavericks, hasn’t played a single game this year but is only one season removed from averaging 14.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists. He’s worth the risk for the Celtics.

Not only is he the 14-15 year veteran that Kyrie Irving asked for earlier in the season but he can give Boston plenty on both ends of the floor. At his advanced age, Randolph can defend at a high level on one end and still score double figures in points on the other, he’d also be a good fit for Stevens if he wants to go with a smaller lineup and can give Stevens extra valuable minutes if Baynes is hurt and unable to play throughout the postseason.

Marcin Gortat

The ‘Polish Hammer’ is a free agent and is just the type of guy the Celtics bench could use to man the middle of the front court. After being waived by the Clippers, Gortat will be targeted by other playoff teams and Boston should be one of them.

He averaged 5 points and 5 rebounds for the Clippers this season, proved he can protect the rim and can provide the same kind of production we’ve seen from Baynes this year. However, Gortat would have to accept a lesser role than the one he saw in Los Angeles, seeing that Baynes could end up finishing out the year injury-free.

A healthy Baynes would decrease Gortat’s minutes considerably; still, if both sides can come to an agreement, Gortat would be a great insurance policy for Baynes.

Robin Lopez

While Lopez says he hasn’t spoken to his agent about a possible buyout, there’s still a strong chance he’ll be leaving the Bulls to play for a competing team in an effort to raise his stock come this summer. The 30-year-old big man would give the Celtics a defensive presence in the paint, a backup center who can eat up minutes for Brad Stevens when guys like Al Horford and Marcus Morris need a breather.

Jamal Crawford

If the Celtics strikeout on bringing in front court help, they should consider targeting Jamal Crawford. The veteran sharp shooter has done a great job in Phoenix, molding young basketball minds and serving as a leader throughout another trying year for the Suns, however, there is something to be said about his connection with Kyrie Irving and the bond they had over the summer.

The relationship between Crawford and Irving was a talking point at Celtics Media Day last September and seeing them unite in Boston to finish the regular season and take on the playoffs would be a fitting piece to what’s been a tumultuous season for Irving and the Celtics. Crawford would add 3-pont shooting to Stevens’ second unit and another leader for the young back court.  

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