Writing about the delay in Green’s signing got me to thinking about for what (or perhaps whom) Danny Ainge might be creating room? It led me back to a possible roster imbalance that I have been pondering since before the draft (when Ainge had only four players under contract). Two months and eleven contacts (plus Green) later, the issue remains.
Dateline: August 18, 2012––43 days until the start of training camp!
Consider the depth chart and the location of rookies in those lists:
PG Rondo, Terry, Dooling, Bradley, Christmas, Smith
SG Bradley, Lee, Terry, Dooling, Christmas, Smith, Joseph
SF Pierce, Green, Lee, Joseph
PF Bass, Green, Wilcox, Sullinger
C Garnett, Wilcox, Collins, Melo
Now you may argue the placement of the veterans in each list (and no I didn’t list Garnett as a power forward), but it seems pretty clear that the rookie big men are much closer to rotation minutes than the rookie guards.
Admittedly the possibility of Bradley’s availability delayed until December creates some promotions that might have rookies seeing minutes at guard in the first month or two. But, barring injury, Rondo is likely to play minutes in the high thirties so the need, if any, is limited.
On the other hand Sullinger and, to a lesser extent, Melo are behind a big man rotation that is both shallower in number and contains Kevin Garnett whose minutes are likely to be held below 30 this year. This is the most likely area of need and Melo is the rawest of all the rookies (drafted or undrafted).
The free agent list of available big men is never a rich vein to be mined. This year the remaining homeless are a particularly unappetizing lot. The cleanest dirty shirts are probably Chris Anderson and Darko Milicic, hardly thoroughbred pedigrees. The second tier is likely Andray Blatche and Mehmet Okur, and remember the first tier was far from lofty.
With any potential pickup you have to answer two questions. Can he give you anything more than your current 5th and 6th big men (Sullinger and Collins)? Is the contribution/development equation ratio a better investment than Melo? Well do any of the above four get you excited? Hmmm, not really, although the first two do have possibilities (I refuse to consider Blatche—he’d be a horrible example/influence on a team full of young guys; and I would hate to lose Garnett to the legal proceedings that would almost certainly follow his strangling Andray.)
So I thought, how about a buy out, or maybe a camp cut. I couldn’t think of any buyout possibilities so I perused the Google machine and the NBA rumors. The only thing I found was this:
“Former UC forward Yancy Gates will begin his professional career in Lithuania, UC coach Mick Cronin said Thursday. “He passed up an opportunity to go to camp with the Boston Celtics,” Cronin said, “but because it was a non-guaranteed contract, he decided to go to Lithuania. He’s got guaranteed money. If he goes to Boston, and doesn’t make the team, now somebody else takes the job in Lithuania. He’s got a great contract.” cincinnati.com
So apparently Danny had already explored bringing a big man to camp on a make good contract.
I couldn’t think of (or find) any likely camp cuts that might provide that additional big man, but (tongue planted firmly in cheek) there is always a raft of promising big men waived the last day of training camp every October. I did run across two names that I would love to see brought to camp—Hassan Whiteside (waived by Sacramento to make room for Brooks in July) and Henry Sims (the undrafted center out of Georgetown). If nothing else they would provide hours of competition for Fab Melo and additional cause to bring in a big man coach (Cowens I hope). If either made a case for catching on, I would have to lean heavily toward keeping the developmental big man rather than a rookie guard still trying to stick in the NBA several years into his “pro” career (overseas or in the NBDL).
In this case I say two developmental centers are better than one. Good to have those extra hours of practice against someone their own height; and once again, the utilization of a big man coach (whether in Boston or Maine, wherever the tall twins are bedding down that week.) So whether or not Green’s contract structure is being manipulated for BAE space, if Bradley looks like he will not be long delayed, go for the size!
Boston, and all points beyond