There does not seem to be any disagreement among the fan base that we need another Center. The disagreement comes when we talk about which or who that should be. Let me offer four possibilities.
Over at Grantland, Zach Lowe predicts that the Celts will make trades to get worse. I think they will make some trades, but to get better, not worse. So in reverse order of their desirability (my opinion), but in order of probable availability are four ideas.
Omer Asik. Numerous outlets reported that he has no desire to return to being a back up for anyone. Boston does this deal because while in Chicago, Asik proved to be a capable inside defender under our current assistant coach Ron Adams. I think eventually a similar system will be installed here so Asik could not only fit, but perhaps speed it along. He is a decent, although not outstanding inside scorer. Houston does it because they have Howard. What they don't have is a power forward that has stepped up or made the leap so that now they are experimenting with playing Howard and Asik together. I don't think it will be the answer and at some point they will decide the same. Bass with his floor stretching outside shot would be a perfect fit and has played with Howard before in Orlando. They have some cap space so I would try to include Courtney Lee, though they might balk as Lee came to us from them and they too are pretty well set at SG. A pick might twist their arm. I don't think that Asik is enough to give up a pick.
Marcin Gortat. It seems that Alex Len is the heir apparent so many think Gortat will be dealt. Boston does this deal because we need a competent center and Gortat is on an expiring contract. If you can't re-sign him at a reasonable amount he walks next summer and we have money space to work with. Faverani will have a season under his belt and Iverson may be ready to be brought back from Europe. Phoenix does it because number one, they have 16 guaranteed contracts, someone has to go. They are all about the future, they have cap space, Our old friend Ryan McDonough covets picks, and Kendall Marshall appears to be a complete draft bust. This is also his option year so if Ainge would take Marshall to sit on the bench for a season, I could see us getting Gortat for Humphries expiring contract and a pick. The move also gets Boston further under the tax line.
Pau Gasol. Yes I know we don't deal with our mortal enemy. Yes I know Gasol is on the wrong side of 30 and suffered through numerous injuries last year. Yes I know that I was one of the ones who spoke out last year against a trade for him when rumors were swirling. But here is the thing (there is always "a thing"). I and I think Ainge too see Faverani as another Tiago Splitter. Fav may be our Center of the future, but he needs time to get used to the NBA and could use a mentor. Both Gasol and Fav played in the Spanish League which should make it easy for them to communicate in ways the staff and other players can't. Boston does it for those reasons and because it gives us a credible presence inside for this season. If Gasol plays well enough and we want to keep him at a reasonable price then fine. Otherwise he walks and there is roughly 22M off the books. The Lakers do it because for whatever reason, they seem to want Gasol gone, (rumors are that they are already making calls again) and because they need help upfront. Next year they only have 10M in salaries on their books, so a combination of Humphries' expiring and Wallace's 10M will not hurt them regardless of what they do with Kobe (I won't take a pay cut) Bryant and the rest of the roster. Factor in that they want to make the playoffs because even as an eighth seed they just know they can win a banner and I think a deal could be done.
Serge Ibaka. Before you say I am crazy and that there is no way, hear me out. This is where I agree with Zach Lowe.
OKC does not want to trade Ibaka. But they did not want to trade Harden either. They also do not want to squander the careers of Durant and Westbrook. Their roster, as currently constructed is not likely to get them past the first round if they don't miss the playoffs entirely. They will try to make trades with anyone other than their big three, but who do they have that could net them a difference maker. They have a few nice prospects, but time is not on their side. By the time they develop, the window may be closed. Money is the real issue. They are at 68.7M in guaranteed contracts this year and next they have 62M committed to just seven players. They also are one of the teams that is least able to go into a tax situation. So at some point they will have to trade Ibaka. I would like to see Ainge try to speed up the issue.
So why would Boston want a power forward when we have so many now? Ibaka's profile lists him as a Forward/ Center and at 6'10" with his athletic ability, he could easily fit as a Center along the lines of Larry Sanders. He blocks shots and protects the rim similarly, yet his offense is much more polished. He not only scores at the rim, but can hit from just about anywhere inside the arc. And at 12.3M for this and each of the next three years, his contract is reasonable and does not completely kill the cap space.
Imagine a front court of Ibaka/ Faverani - Sullinger/ Olynyk (although you might have to give up one to make the deal) and Green/ Wallace. Humphries straight up would work money wise although you would probably have to include a couple of picks and that might still not get it done. Lowe suggests in the "Thunderball " article that OKC could be better served with Bass which of course means some other combination of players and/ or picks in addition. The point is that this deal is not out of reach. The question is: Is this the blockbuster on the horizon that we are hoping for? And is it the one that puts Boston right back in the business of competing for a title?