We expect that the Boston Celtics will be active in free agency this summer, so here's one more name to keep an eye on. According to CSNNE.com's A. Sherrod Blakely, the Celtics are among the teams interested in forward Al-Farouq Aminu.
Aminu is expected to turn down his player option with the Dallas Mavericks. While there seems to be mutual interest in keeping him in Dallas, Aminu will keep his options open by testing free agency. The 8th overall pick in the 2010 draft is known as a solid perimeter defender, ranking sixth among small forwards in ESPN's Defensive Real Plus/Minus metric. He is capable of playing either forward position, which made him a versatile option off the bench for the Mavs.
While he has primarily been a role player off the bench, Aminu opened some eyes during Dallas' first-round playoff match-up against the Houston Rockets when he stepped into the starting lineup mid-series for the injured Chandler Parsons and struggling Richard Jefferson. Aminu averaged 11.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game while shooting 54.8 percent from the field and a blistering 63.6 percent from beyond the arc. He averaged 30 minutes per game in the series and his double-double in Game 4 was a key factor in helping the Mavericks stave off elimination for one more game.
"While Aminu doesn't necessarily move to the front of the Celtics' offseason wish list, there's no question that he is a player that in part due to his postseason play, has to be given some consideration," writes Blakely.
Boston's priority is on re-signing Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko, each of whom they acquired in mid-season trades this year. If they fail to retain either of them, Aminu could draw a lot of attention from Celtics president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge.
The Celtics enter the offseason optimistically looking to chase the biggest names in free agency. They currently have just over $40 million in guaranteed money committed to next year's roster against a salary cap projected to be $67.1 million. They will have money to spend. It's just a matter of who is willing to take it.
Ainge: "I don't think we've ever had cap space in the history of the Celtics, at least since I've been here. We need to spend it wisely."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 30, 2015
If the Celtics strike out on the marquee free agents on the market, they may be willing to pay a premium for the next tier available. What may look like an overpay in the short term could become a bargain in the long run once the salary cap rises to unprecedented levels over the next few years.
Aminu can count himself among that second-tier of free agents. If the Celtics don't end up striking deals with their top options, Aminu could become a solid backup plan.