Can't say this any more clearly. The Celtics absolutely have to find some help down low. The team came into the season with exactly 2 "true" centers and one of them was fresh from the D-League. We knew that O'Neal was going to be injured, it was just a matter of when and for how long. We didn't exactly count on Wilcox (playing out of position anyway) to be out as well.
Kevin Garnett is our best option at center and he's reluctantly doing the job. Stiemsma is a decent placeholder and minutes eater, but isn't exactly ideal either. Bass is really more of a power forward and ...well, that's the list. (JaJuan Johnson has the double whammy of being too thin to play as a true center and being a rookie on Doc Rivers' team)
So, what do we do now?
The Celtics are currently dealing with two big men with questionable futures as Jermaine O'Neal contemplates potential season-ending wrist surgery, while Chris Wilcox is seeking further tests for a cardiac ailment that could likewise end his year. All of which leaves Boston thin on big men and searching for a serviceable 7-footer by any means necessary. "Obviously, we’re looking to grab a big from somewhere, hopefully not by giving away a player, but hopefully by going another route," said Rivers. "With Chris’s situation, the tough part about it is, we don’t know if he’s going to come back or not, and the [trade] deadline is coming up. So the quicker, obviously, we find that out, it does help us. We need another [big man], regardless, so we’ll be out there. I don’t think there’s a bunch of teams lining up to help the Celtics."
Not exactly a rosy picture. So the idea is to trade someone for a big right? Not so fast.
O’Neal’s expiring contract can be had, but team president Danny Ainge said last week on WEEI that trading the veteran center was, "more unlikely than likely." Ainge isn’t inclined to trade away one of his two first round picks in this year’s draft and is looking to add assets, not deal them. In order to sign someone, the Celtics would have to make room on the roster because they are at the 15-player limit, but they will look everywhere for a big. The obvious place is the D-League, but it’s not known for its big men. Keith Benson, a second-round pick of the Hawks and Greg Stiemsma’s former Wisconsin teammate Brian Butch are probably the best of the bunch along with veteran Dan Gadzuric, according to Scott Schroeder who keeps tabs on all things D-related for Ridiculous Upside. Another name to keep an eye on is journeyman Earl Barron who is playing in the Philippines.
Expiring contracts are kind of a dime a dozen these days. They aren't going to fetch much unless they are attached to something more valuable like a pick, which might as well be gold debloons on Pirate Danny's ship. He ain't giving them up for a patch-up job this year. So it sounds like we'll just have to find Stiemsma's twin brother and throw minutes at the fatally flawed guys from the D-League (and hope to find buried treasure, ...arrrrgh).
Oh and if you are ready for some more bad news, try this on for size (bad pun intended) via Forsberg:
As if the Celtics needed anything else to worry about with their bigs, rookie center Greg Stiemsma, who did not play the final 13 minutes on Sunday, left the Staples Center with a walking boot on his right foot (a precautionary measure as he moved around the locker room without issue immediately after the game; Stiemsma endured right foot ailments while in college at Wisconsin).
(Cue Krusty the Clown exasperated groan/sigh)