Our team needs are no big mystery. Doc himself laid them out in detail. We need veterans, and we need depth at center, small forward, and point guard. As we roll along, it seems like a good time to review these team needs, starting with backup center.
I couldn't be happier with the progress Kendrick Perkins has made each and every year. He's an established veteran center who plays fantastic defense and pulls down his share of rebounds. He's the perfect compliment to Kevin Garnett and a wonderful fit in the Doc/Thibs system. He's even developed a respectable offensive game. However, he's just one man. And he's occasionally foul prone and has a shoulder issue that is bound to plague him on and off his whole career.
All too often this year Doc had to lean heavily on Big Baby and Leon Powe at center, but both are undersized for the 4 spot, never mind the 5 and now both are free agents.
Patrick O'Bryant was the low risk, high upside gamble of the offseason. The thinking was that if KG couldn't motivate him, nobody could. Turns out nobody could. Enter mid season pickup Mikki Moore, who was supposed to be the anti-O'Bryant (all effort, little talent). That never worked out either. Toss in the oft-injured Scot Pollard from a year ago and we've seen too many big man experiments gone wrong.
We either need another PJ Brown (someone older but reliable) or a taller version of Leon Powe (hard worker, smart player, knows his role). I'm all for taking a flyer on a big man with upside, but not at the expense of getting one of the above.
As a minimum, the guy would have to be able to learn our defensive schemes. It would be great if the guy could rebound and not get in the way on offense. If he's got a good offensive game, that's a bonus I can live with too.
So who can we get? Lets look at some options:
Free Agents: (see my list of potential free agents for reference)
Marcin Gortat - He's big, he's fairly skilled, and he's played very well in support of Dwight Howard for the Magic. He's also the most likely big man to be overpaid this offseason. The Knicks already have their eye on him and seem ready to throw the MLE at him.
Antonio McDyess - If he signed, he would fill the PJ Brown role nicely. In fact, he's still a very effective big man in this league and he would fit in perfectly. He's even friends with Kevin Garnett. Probably my top choice right now and I would imagine his price tag wouldn't be too high. He was very loyal to the Pistons but they are clearly moving in different directions and I imagine Antonio will be open to offers from contenders like the Celts.
Chris Anderson - The Birdman got a look from the Celtics last year and I imagine he would have worked out a lot better than O'Bryant if given the opportunity. Instead he landed in Denver and made a big impression on everyone with his energetic style. Now he's a free agent again. Will Danny be more agressive this time or has that ship sailed?
Rasheed Wallace - I've made my feelings clear on this, but not everyone agrees. He's a big name option and Danny has reportedly shown interest in him as early as last February. A lot might depend on his price tag and motivation.
Radoslav Nesterovic - A true (lumbering) center if ever there was one. He's got touch and can score and pass but he's limited on the boards and defense. Worth a look but I'm not sure if the fit is ideal.
Potential Trade Targets:
It is much harder narrowing down the list of trade ideas, but here are a few names to toss in a hat. An ideal pickup would be Brook Lopez from New Jersey but that's not happening. I get the feeling that Tyrus Thomas could be had, but I don't know if we have what it takes to pry him away. Diop seems like a poor man's Perk; if the Cats want to shed salary, he might be an option. I've been trying to figure out ways to pry Jeff Foster away from the Pacers for a while and nothing has come to me. Same with Nick Collison of the Thunder. I don't think we have what it takes to pick up Joel Przbilla but I think Channing Frye could be had. I'm sure I'm missing more than a few names but feel free to add them in the comments.
Mid Season Pickups (Buyout Candidates):
If all else fails, there's always the same routine we've seen the last couple of years. Wait till after the trade deadline and see who shakes out of the system. Right now I wouldn't be too surprised to see the Clippers save some money on Marcus Camby's contract. I could see the Grizzlies cutting Darko Milicic loose as well.
Doc has stated that he wants vets, and I'm all for that as the first option. However, once we fill that slot, I'm all for taking a big somewhere in the draft. Danny would likely have to purchase a pick somewhere in the late first or early second round to get anyone of impact. I havn't got a clue who that would be, but feel free to research at Draft Express or NBADraft.net.
And hey, there's always Antoine Walker! [ducking for cover]