The Boston Celtics have been very active this offseason. It all started the night before the draft when the Celtics announced that defensive anchor Kevin Garnett had decided to put off retirement and return to the Celtics for another three season. Since then Celtic President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge has been one of the busiest GM's in the business, adding rookies Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo on draft night, re-signing Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, and Chris Wilcox, and bringing in free agents Jason Terry and Courtney Lee to offset the loss of shooting guard Ray Allen. Ainge has even begun filling out the back end of Boston's roster, re-signing locker room leader Keyon Dooling and adding veteran center Jason Collins in the past week. With all these moves Boston is getting close to the luxury tax threshold and don't have much to offer any additional free agents beyond the veterans minimum, so the Celtics' roster looks pretty final. However there is still one chip the Celtics haven't used – the bi-annual exception. At just under $2 million per season the bi-annual exception could potentially lure one more impactful free agent to Boston, and there a number of players on the market that the Celtics could target. Who will it be?
Mickael Pietrus, SF
This is probably wishful thinking on Celtics101's part. Despite battling injuries Pietrus was still was a major contributor for the Celtics last year, and Boston could absolutely make use of him next season, particularly if he can actually get healthy with a full offseason of rehab. However at this point Pietrus can almost certainly find a bigger paycheck and a bigger role with another contender. MP has repeatedly expressed interest in returning to Boston to chase banner 18, but it looks like it just isn't in the cards. The Celtics have made a number of moves to improve their roster this offseason, and Pietrus might simply be the odd man out. The Celtics could still absolutely use him, particularly as a backup to Paul Pierce if they envision playing Green at the four more than the three this season. However he'd be taking a pay cut and not getting a lot of minutes with Terry, Lee, and Green all already in line for big time minutes off the bench. Celtics101 has repeatedly stated their position that Pietrus is a player that they want on their side, but it seems that they have decided to go another way. However stranger things have happened.
Kenyon Martin, F/C
This also might be a reach, but it makes more sense than Pietrus does. Some team could easily offer Martin more than the $2 million that the Celtics can, but not significantly more, and a Martin to the Celtics move would seemingly make sense for both sides. At this point in his career Martin is probably more concerned with winning than anything, and few players could be more useful for the Celtics than he. Even with all their activity this offseason Boston still looks a little thin on the interior, particularly with Greg Stiemsma leaving for Minnesota. The Celtics signed Jason Collins to offset the loss, but they have been murdered on the boards the past two years and could clearly still use some front court help. Enter Martin, who even at 34 still hits the boards as well as anybody in the league. He's the type of bench big that every contending team needs – an excellent defender who rebounds, blocks shots, and makes hustle plays. Boston's defense completely fell apart every time Kevin Garnett went to the bench last season because they didn't have another interior presence. Martin is the type of tough interior presence that is going out of style in the modern NBA. The Celtics need more of that. KG can't do it all by himself.
Andersen has seemingly worn out his welcome in Denver, and there are a number of off the court issues surrounding the one time Nugget sensation. Celtics101 could easily marshal a number of arguments for why the Celtics should not pursue the man known as "Birdman," but if there is one thing teams want on their bench it's players that make an impact, and that is one thing Andersen has always known how to do. Whatever else can be said about him, everybody knows when Chris Andersen is on the floor. He is one of a very small number of players who can dominate a game from under the basket. He has made some very bad decisions in his young life, getting himself banned from the league in 2006 for performance enhancing drugs the most prevalent of his numerous off the court issues. However he still blocks shots as well as anyone in the game and also rebounds pretty well. When he is on top of his game Andersen can completely take over, and few bench players provide a better presence in the paint than he. Martin is a better player and would be a preferable option to spell Garnett, but Andersen wouldn't be a bad plan B. His value isn't particularly high right now, but he still averaged 1.4 blocks in just 15.2 minutes per game last year. In a league full of exceptional athletes Andersen stands out as one of the best there is. This might be a good opportunity for the Celtics to buy low.
Nate Robinson, PG
This would make a lot more sense if the Celtics hadn't just re-signed Keyon Dooling, but one of the quintessential truths about the NBA it's that you can never have too many shooters. He's a major goof ball, but people are quick to forget how good Nate Robinson was for the Celtics in the 2010 playoffs. At 28 he has finally started growing up and had a very good season for the Golden State Warriors last year, averaging 11.2 points and a career high 4.5 assists per game in 2012. He would get sporadic playing time given all the other backcourt additions Boston has made this offseason, but one of the best things about Robinson is that he can explode off the bench after not playing for extended periods. Not many players can do that and it's a useful resource to have at the end of the bench. Robinson was probably expecting some team to offer him more than the $2 million that the Celtics can given the solid season he put together last year, but it hasn't happened, and his price tag will probably keep dropping as the offseason wears on. Overall it's probably unlikely that he lands back in Boston. Plenty of other teams can offer him more money and a larger role, but you can never have too many shooters, and Robinson has always been able to shoot.
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