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A splashy 2022 NBA offseason certainly doesn’t await the Boston Celtics.
Not in free agency, at least.
That’s just as well, because it could be a championship roster as is. If the front office isn’t convinced he is, however, he’ll have to seek help in the trade market, as his hands will mostly be tied in free agency.
Boston will have the mid-level taxpayer exception and minimum veteran money to spend on free agents. This essentially gives the Shamrocks a chance to find an impact player.
The following three players could be candidates for that mid-tier money.
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Assuming the Celtics are still looking for another ballhandler after their deadline deal for Derrick White, then Ricky Rubio could find himself in the Shamrocks’ sights.
Yes, he’s 31 and working his way back from a torn ACL, but that’s the only reason he could fit into Boston’s budget.
Prior to the injury, he was busy shaking up the Cleveland Cavaliers with his typical defense and distribution. His career-high 13.1 points per game was the proverbial icing on the cake.
He’s not the shooting threat Boston could really use, but you can only be so picky when shopping in the clearance bin.
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One way to stretch Boston’s budget is to assume some level of risk.
TJ Warren has worn four suits in the past two seasons combined due to stress fractures in his left foot. Any team that signs him will be taking a risk, despite the fact his foot reportedly healed late in the season — long after the Indiana Pacers were buried in the Eastern Conference standings — according to ESPN. Adrian Wojnarowski.
If Warren is truly healthy (or can get there sooner rather than later), he could be a steal for the mini-intermediate level exception.
Between 2017-18 and 2019-20, he averaged 18+ points on 48+% shooting each season. In the bottom two, he also converted over 40% of his triples. The Celtics need more wingers who can splash from distance and defend, and a healthy Warren ticks both boxes.
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If the Celtics are focused on improving their forward depth, they should be impressed with Otto Porter Jr.’s first (and possibly last) season with the Golden State Warriors.
Plugged into a complementary role, Porter has adapted perfectly to the system as a versatile defender, long-range shooter and willing passer.
His 8.2 points per game won’t jump off the page, but every level of his 46.4/37.0/80.3 slash is worth noticing. His career-high 9.3 rebounds per 36 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference.com, also highlights his effectiveness as a change-of-tempo and small-ball center.
If Porter’s checkered injury history keeps his next contract in check, the Celtics might be wise to be the one to offer it.