Jared Sullinger's Dad Says Celtics Pledged to Acquire True Center This Offseason

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2014

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 26: Jared Sullinger #7 of the Boston Celtics holds the ball against the Toronto Raptors on March 26, 2014 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE  (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
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In April, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said, "We always are trying to make fireworks," according to NESN.com's Ben Watanabe.

Now, there may be an indication of what those fireworks will look like.

Celtics big man Jared Sullinger's dad told ABC6 (via MassLive's Jay King):

Next year I think he's going to finally get to play his true position of power forward. And so, at that point, he's going to come home and he's going to trim down and shed some pounds, so he gets a quicker step and a little more mobility. Because they've kind of promised him that they're going to get a center.

Though it's obviously hearsay, it does make some sense. The 6'9" Sullinger is often forced to play against larger competition at the center spot, and he'd be better equipped to play the 4-spot. 

Just how the Celtics plan to go about acquiring said center remains an open question. 

They could always look to trade for one, with possibilities like the Houston Rockets' Omer Asik potentially on the market. The 27-year-old center reportedly requested a trade early in the 2013-14 season, as per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, and the Rockets could look to oblige him now that his contract is expiring.

Boston could also look to the draft, when it will have pretty prime position to select among the best big men in the draft.

The Sullinger revelation potentially suggests that the organization doesn't have faith in rookie Kelly Olynyk to develop into a full-time starter, at least anytime soon. It remains unclear whether Olynyk is really a 4 or a 5, so it reason that Boston may be looking for a sure thing in the middle.

Power forward Kris Humphries—a free agent—also logged some minutes at center this season, so this news could suggest that he won't be back, as well. Humphries made $12 million this season, and it's highly unlikely the Celtics would offer him a deal in a similar range.

Putting Sullinger in a position to succeed has to rank among Ainge's highest priorities. The 22-year-old averaged 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds this season.

That's a promising sign for a player who's functionally been playing out of position. 

CelticsBlog.com's Jeff Clark reminds us that it would be wise to wait for Sullinger to fully develop:

Jared Sullinger represents great value for the Celtics right now.  He was picked with the 21st selection in the draft 2 years ago.  He's still on his rookie contract and won't be a restricted free agent until 2016 (at which time whatever team he's playing for has the right to match any offer).  He's shown flashes of brilliant play and he's only getting better.

Just how much better could depend on whom the Celtics surround him with.