The Celtics Have Some New Players, May Have One More

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If you’re like me, you’re getting a bit lost in this free agency madness, so let’s recap what Boston did yesterday:

  • Signed Marquis Daniels to a one-year deal
  • Signed Jeff Green to a one-year deal
  • Signed Chris Wilcox to a one-year deal
  • Traded essentially nothing for Keyon Dooling
  • Traded Glen Davis for Brandon Bass
  • Tried to trade Jermaine O’Neal for David West. (The Celtics and Hornets are still trying to complete this deal — West would sign for 3 years, $27-29 million.)

Quick reactions: Good for Quisy! Super happy that he says he’s feeling good and is back with the guys he wants to play with. The Green deal seems very reasonable. Wilcox should help offensively and finally gets to play for a good team. Bass is a definite upgrade over Baby, especially considering the organization was disappointed with Mr. Davis last year. All of this makes so much sense! Then, whoa, David West?!

Boston’s about the last place I expected West to go. It’s not that he’s a bad fit in their system; I can picture Rondo finding him open on the perimeter for jumpers all day. It’s just that, umm, they have a starting 4. His name is Kevin Garnett. And while there aren’t a lot of great centers anymore and KG, Bass and Wilcox can play a bit of 5 and blablabla positional revolution blablabla, it feels wrong that the Celtics don’t have a big, tough, interior presence. Any defense with Rajon Rondo and Garnett will still be very effective, and West isn’t a bad defender, but the prospect of a West/35-year-old-Garnett manning the paint isn’t that scary.

Still, I have to praise Ainge for these moves. See that Doc quote up top? It makes sense. This is a compressed schedule and, as you may have heard, Boston’s core is getting a wee bit old. Having extra bodies to protect against injuries and rest their veterans is smart. The Celtics had 6 players under contract before yesterday — striking quickly to sign inexpensive, quality role players to one-year deals was exactly what was necessary. Going after West may seem strange at first, but remember this: The Celtics finished 18th in offensive efficiency last season, for reasons articulated expertly by Zach Lowe a few days ago. Even if there’s a drop-off defensively for a few stretches against certain teams, West’s offense should surely make up for it. Boston badly needed another reliable scoring option and having to throw a few unconventional lineups out there to accommodate one is a small price to pay. I still want the Celtics to sign a bruiser because THEY’RE THE CELTICS, DAMMIT, but they’ve absolutely improved their team. If they do indeed acquire West to go along with those role players, Doc Rivers should be very pleased.

Seth Carstens