The Boston Celtics have been one of the NBA's busiest teams this offseason, both in re-signing their own players (Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox), and making moves to acquire new ones (Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Jason Collins).
However, despite all of the Celtics' activity thus far this summer, they still have three roster spots open.
How will they fill those spots?
Well, for starters, Danny Ainge still has the bi-annual exception at his disposal, and he can still pick up a quality free agent with that chip. The question is, will Ainge use the bi-annual exception now, or will he save it for the trade deadline when players tend to get waived?
Boston also has some in-house options to choose from as well.
So, without further ado, let's examine some of the players the C's can use to round out their 15-man roster.
The Celtics selected Joseph with the 51st overall pick of the draft, and if his performance during summer league is any indication, it looks like Boston got a steal with the Syracuse product. Joseph, a 6'7" small forward, brings athleticism and a solid feel for the game to the table, and some have already compared his style of play to none other than Paul Pierce.
If I had to guess, I would say that Joseph has the inside track to one of Boston's final three roster spots. The C's currently only have two true small forwards on the roster (Pierce and Green), so he would provide some nice depth at that position. Unless the Celtics ultimately decide to bring Mickael Pietrus back, I would say that Joseph is going to make the team.
This isn't exactly Christmas' first go-around, as he graduated from Temple in 2009 and had played in previous summer leagues for multiple teams prior to latching on with Boston this year. However, Christmas never impressed any of those squads like he has impressed Doc Rivers and the C's in 2012.
Christmas has been so electric during summer league, as a matter of fact, that the Celtics are giving him a chance to make the team in training camp. At 6'5", 205 lbs, Christmas possesses NBA-level size for a shooting guard, and from his aggressive style of play, you would think he is even bigger.
Whether or not Christmas actually makes the team is up in the air, but you have to think he has a solid shot.
Like Christmas, Smith is going to get a shot to make the team in training camp. The 6'3" combo guard has been around even longer than Christmas, as Smith last played college ball with Illinois back in 2007.
Smith is a good shooter and can provide some value in that sense, but I'm not sure Boston wants to add another small guard to its roster, as it already has two smallish two-guards in Avery Bradley and Terry. I would have to say that the chances of Smith making the team are rather slim.
My money is on the C's bringing Dooling (or "Reverend Dooling" as he was called by his teammates this past season) back for another year. He provided the Celtics with a great locker room presence in 2012, and he also seemed to be a great influence on Rajon Rondo. Not only that, but he came up pretty big during the team's playoff run.
A sign that Boston fully intends on bringing Dooling back? The team told first-round draft pick Fab Melo that the No. 51 (the number Dooling wore this past year) was not available. I think Ainge was just trying to get a lot of other things done first. I am pretty sure that we will see Dooling in green once again come the fall.
I mentioned him earlier, and he really wants to return to Boston for another year. However, with the acquisition of Lee, the potential of Joseph making the roster, and the fact that Pietrus will likely command the bi-annual exception, I don't see much room for Mickael on the club, and even if he does come back, his minutes will likely drop dramatically.
I really like Peaches a lot and think he is a great glue guy, but it doesn't look like he is going to be back. Maybe if he accepted the veteran's minimum, but I just can't see that happening, regardless of how much he wants to be a Celtic again.
He did some good things for the Celtics in the playoffs, but does Boston want to bring him back again? I'm not sure. He might have a slightly better chance than Pietrus, as he would not require the bi-annual exception like Pietrus likely would, but I think Ainge would rather bring Joseph aboard and/or leave a roster spot open for a mid-season acquisition than re-sign Daniels.
If Ainge plans on using the bi-annual exception, Martin is a player he should seriously consider using it on. He would fit very nicely next to Garnett up front, as that would be one of the most, if not the most, tenacious frontcourt duos in the league. K-Mart has lost a bit of athleticism now that he is 34, but he played rather well for the Los Angeles Clippers in the playoffs this year, proving that he still has plenty left in the tank.
The question is, can the Celtics give him the minutes he would want? Along with K.G., Boston has Bass, Wilcox and Jared Sullinger at the power forward position, and even Green can play some four. That is why the signing of Martin may be a bit unrealistic. That said, it is worth exploring, right? If I were Ainge, I would certainly give him a long, hard look. That's for sure.
Some Celtic fans have been talking about bringing Birdman aboard, as he still has shot-blocking prowess and could be able to do some nice things with Rondo on the break. Still, he has had some injury problems, he fell out of the Denver Nuggets' rotation this past season, and of course, there is that whole child pornography case where a 21-year-old woman supposedly blackmailed Andersen. I'm not sure the C's want that kind of attention.
Blatche was recently waived by the Washington Wizards, and many Celtic fans are clamoring for Ainge to go out and grab him. Despite their pleas, I don't see it happening. Blatche is undoubtedly talented, but he is a well-known headcase, and I don't think a team looking for another title is going to want to take on a project like Blatche.
I'm sure Garnett could get him in line, but he is already going to have his hands full mentoring Sullinger and Melo. As enticing as Blatche's raw ability is, I just can't see him buying into the "Ubuntu" mantra that this team preaches.
This is just a name I am throwing out there. He can play the small forward position, and I'm guessing he would come at the veteran's minimum. Howard isn't even close to the player he used to be, as evidenced by the fact that he couldn't even crack 40 percent shooting this past year with the Utah Jazz, but he can still play solid defense and he can even grab some boards. On the cheap, I wouldn't mind adding Howard into the fold.
What I want to happen and what I think will happen are two totally different things.
In my perfect world, the Celtics will sign back Dooling and Pietrus and then land K-Mart to complete the roster, but taking into account money and minutes, that is pretty much a pipe dream.
The most likely scenario is that Boston re-signs Dooling, brings Joseph aboard, and leaves the final roster spot open. It seems like there is at least one quality player who gets waived around the trade deadline each and every year, and wouldn't it be nice to have the bi-annual exception as a weapon to use around that time?
I'm sure that is what Ainge is thinking, and who could blame him? It is a very sensible thought process.