Back in December I made my plea to bring back Ryan Gomes. Well, he wasn't traded and he wasn't released so we didn't get him. Well, now he's going to be a free agent.
Team president Larry Miller said the Blazers will probably release newly acquired forward Ryan Gomes in order to avoid taking on the remaining three seasons of his contract. The team has until Tuesday to make a decision, but Miller said he has already told Gomes' agent not to fly him to Portland.
For those wondering how or why the Blazers would release a guy with 3 seasons left on his contract let me explain. He has only a partially guaranteed contract. So the team that owns his rights has the option to release him and will only owe him $1M for this season (and thus clear cap room for the offseason). That's why he was valuable to the Blazers (and why the Heat wanted to trade Beasley for him).
But he'd be valuable to the Celtics for a lot of other reasons. But rather than repeat myself, here's what I said back in December.
One man's tweener is another man's versatile utility infielder. Much like a taller Marquis Daniels he would fill multiple roles on the currently constituted Celtics roster. He'd be that big 3 that has eluded Doc for many a year. He would spell Pierce (which would have a noticeable trickle down effect on the rest of the roster) and he could fill in at the 4 in smaller lineups. He's even developed a reliable jumper that would fit perfectly into Doc's offensive schemes (floor spacing) and he's bright enough to pick up the defense quickly I'm sure.
In terms of personality, you couldn't ask for a better lockerroom and community guy. He was Mr. Ubuntu before Doc introduced that term to the team in '07. Even as a youngster, he was wise beyond his years and there were times when he looked and sounded like a veteran (and maybe at the time he was one of the older players on the team). I can't find the quotes at this moment but when he was traded away, Danny Ainge singled him out as being one of his favorite people and talked about how hard it was to include him in the deal.
So the question becomes, how much will he cost? The contract that the Blazers are cutting would have paid Gomes between $4 and $5 million a year. Assuming he doesn't want to take a large pay cut, that puts him outside the veteran minimum range. So it would take at least a portion of the Mid Level Exception to get him in town.
For that reason alone I don't think anything is going to happen anytime soon. The Celtics will likely have a few guys in mind that they'd like to try to sign with the MLE (like they did last year with Rasheed). On the other hand, the Celtics really don't have a lot of live bodies on the bench right now, so they might be wise to split the MLE between a couple of guys just to fill roster spots.
I'd really, really like to see Ryan back in Boston, but I understand that it has to be a deal that makes sense for everyone. Gomes might find he can cash in with a larger paycheck on a team that misses out on the big name free agents. That's the nature of free agency.
Of course, there are a few other priorities that the Celtics will have to take care of before looking at Ryan. I just hope he finds a way to end up here sooner or later.