NBA Rumors: Is Nenad Krstic Considering a Return to the Boston Celtics?

Nick Farnsworth@@nfarnswAnalyst IJuly 8, 2012

Krstic could find himself back in green this season.
Krstic could find himself back in green this season.Elsa/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics have been active early in the free agency period, already getting verbal agreements from a handful of players that will help to fill out most of their roster. However, the C's may end up needing extra help in the front court, as Chris Forsberg of ESPN reports that Greg Stiemsma is garnering a lot of interest from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Although the Celtics would like to hold on to the promising center, they can only match offers that fit into the salary cap restrictions, which means they will be unable to match any offer above the bi-annual exception. 

However, the Celtics may be in luck, as they still own the Bird Rights for center Nenad Krstic, who they received along with Jeff Green in the Kendrick Perkins trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Krstic didn't stay with the team long—as he signed overseas during the lockout—but he did hold an option to terminate his contract with CSKA Moscow. Chris Forsberg highlighted that Carchia of Redazione Sportanda in Russia has reported that Krstic will not be returning to CSKA Moscow next year, and he plans to terminate his current contract. 

There hasn't yet been much U.S. news about the possibility of Krstic returning to the NBA, but a translated report from Sportska Centrala titled "Krstic on the Verge of Returning to Boston" expresses that Krstic plans to return to the NBA and has interest in joining Milwaukee, Brooklyn, or Boston. However, the Celtics hold the exclusive Bird Rights for Krstic and therefore can sign him to a larger contract than most other teams by going over the salary cap to pay his salary. 

Although Krstic only played in 24 games with the Celtics, he actually put together solid performances by averaging 9.1 points on 53.7 percent shooting as well as 5.4 rebounds per game. Boston could still use depth in the frontcourt—especially if Stiemsma leaves—and Krstic would give the team another 7-footer that can make mid-range shots and is a capable defender in the paint.

The added depth at the center position that Krstic provides would allow Kevin Garnett the rest he needs to make it through the season, as well as provide another player that can provide the rebounding that the C's were missing last season. 

It isn't clear how interested Krstic is in returning to Boston, or if the team has even reached out to him and considered making an offer. Yet the move would make sense for both Krstic and the Celtics, especially now that Boston has room below the luxury tax cap due to the loss of Ray Allen.

Although it is not a perfect solution to the Celtics' needs at center, it will greatly improve the overall performance of the team and help to provide the size Boston has been missing.