The Celtics took a chance by signing Greg Stiemsma to the roster last year as a deep reserve center and after a few injuries to Boston's rotation, he stepped up to the challenge as the back up center.
Chris Forsberg of ESPN reported that Boston wants Stiemsma back in green next season and have extended a $1.05 million qualifying offer in order to make him a restricted free agent.
A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast SportsNet reported that although Boston is Stiemsma's first choice, he is taking the opportunity of free agency to meet with the Timberwolves in order to hear the possible offer they would make.
The Celtics are limited in what they can offer Stiemsma due to the lack of Bird Rights, therefore at most they could offer him the bi-annual exception of $4 million for two years. The backup center averaged 2.9 points per game on 54.5 percent shooting, as well as providing 3.2 rebounds, .5 assists, 1.5 blocks and .7 steals over 13.9 minutes per game.
The Celtics would be lucky to have the 26-year-old Stiemsma back for the qualifying offer they gave or the bi-annual exception. However, free agency is beginning to indicate that he may garner more money than that.
Another 26-year-old center earned himself quite a raise after averaging 3.1 points per game on 50.6 percent, as well as providing 5.3 rebounds, .5 assists, .5 steals and 1.0 blocks over 14.7 minutes per game. This center is the Bulls' Omer Asik, who according to Marc Stein of ESPN has agreed to a three-year $25.1 million contract with the Houston Rockets.
Stiemsma and Asik have put up very similar numbers over the last season, with Omer Asik producing better rebounding numbers and Stiemsma putting up more steals and blocks per game.
Omer Asik is known to be a more talented defender than Stiemsma, but the potential for both players to improve greatly is fairly similar, as both players are 26 years old.
In no way does this dictate that Stiemsma deserves $8 million a year, as Omer Asik is seemingly overpaid at that number as well, but it does suggest that teams may be valuing players like Asik and Stiemsma higher than some may have expected.
The Boston Celtics may find themselves unable to bring back Stiemsma even though they would be willing to pay for it, as they only have the capability to sign Stiemsma to the bi-annual exception due to cap restrictions. Therefore it is likely Stiemsma will at least be offered a contract that will be worth more than the $2 million-per-year that the Celtics can offer.
It will, in the end, be up to Greg to decide whether he would like to earn a bigger pay day or return to the team that gave him a real chance in the NBA.
The Timberwolves may make an offer to Stiemsma in the next few days, and we will see whether he returns to the city of Boston or takes the money he deserves in another city.