Best Value Free Agents for the Boston Celtics to Pursue

Grant Rindner@grantrindnerContributor IIIJune 4, 2014

Believe it or not, there are players Boston could add this offseason who aren’t named Kevin Love. 

Love’s recent trip to Boston stirred Celtics fans into a frenzy, but there’s more to the offseason than just nabbing a superstar forward. 

As a rebuilding team, the Celtics have plenty of cap room, but they may very well choose to roll that over until they’re in a more competitive place.

You know what that means? Veteran stopgaps and value adds aplenty.

As with any free-agent season, there are plenty of players who will fall through the cracks and be available for reasonable contracts.

That’s right, even in this age of overpaying, some good value can still be had.

Whether they are players coming off of underwhelming playoff runs, veterans with injury history or simply unconventional picks, there are always value adds to be found. 

To tide you over until the next Love update, let’s look at four value free agents Boston could pick up in the 2014 offseason.

Thabo Sefolosha

Although Avery Bradley is a restricted free agent, it is entirely possible Boston lets him walk in lieu of overpaying. 

As The Boston Globe's Glenn Yoder noted, “Bradley is a nice player with some very important skills who could help a contender as a third guard. But to depend on him to be a part of your starting backcourt into the future, especially for relatively significant dollars, feels like a very risky proposition."

However, the Celtics will need some cheap perimeter D if they don't re-sign Bradley.

Enter Thabo Sefolosha.

Sefolosha had a ghastly playoff run, losing his starting job to Reggie Jackson, but he still has value as a defender.

In 15 playoff games, he averaged just 3.7 points and 2.1 rebounds while shooting 41.8 percent from the floor and 26.1 percent from three.

However, a lot of players have bad postseason runs, and this could just be an aberration.

During the regular season, he held opposing 2s to a 15.0 PER and 3s to a 10.7 PER, according to 82games.

At 30 years old he isn’t going to get any better, but Boston could use another hybrid defender that can cover the wing positions and even some taller point guards.

Boston’s backcourt rotation could get much thinner in the offseason, and it’s always nice to have a 6’7” guard.

Given Jeff Green’s disappointing defense, it would be nice to have another athletic, long-armed player on the perimeter.

Boston could sign him to a one- or two-year deal for maybe $2.5 million per season and preserve their long-term financial flexibility.

If he can find his range again (34.8 percent career from three), the signing might even be a steal.

Shaun Livingston

Shaun Livingston’s return has been one of the NBA’s feel-good stories for a while, but he morphed into a genuine asset in 2013-14.

For the Brooklyn Nets, Livingston averaged 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists on 48.3 percent shooting. 

He also provided them with some much needed point-guard stability, given Deron Williams’ erratic season.

In the postseason Livingston was even better, notching 9.7 points, 3.5 boards and 3.3 dimes on 51.2 percent shooting. 

Best of all, he earned $884,000. 

Livingston is certainly due for a raise after his stellar work, and there will be no shortage of suitors for the 6’7” playmaker. 

Using his size to see over defenses, Livingston can make some truly incredible reads.

He also proved he can play well alongside another pass-first point guard, meaning we could see plenty of Rondo-Livingston pairings in crunch time.

The Celtics could even trot him out at the 3 for a smaller, more mobile lineup.

Adding a three-point jumper would be nice though, since Livingston was just 1-for-6 from outside in 76 games.

Still, he makes up for that with his playmaking and an above-average post game.

Livingston shot a staggering 60.6 percent on post-ups, per Synergy Sports (subscription required).

He isn’t a super polished scorer on the block, but smaller guards have no chance when he turns into the lane. 

After his grisly knee injury, health will always be a concern with Livingston, but he has actually been pretty durable since then.

He’s only 28 years old, too, so he still has several quality seasons left if he stays on the floor.

Livingston obviously isn’t good enough to replace Rondo if he gets traded, but he could be a dynamic third guard for a reasonable deal.

Don’t be surprised to see him net offers in the three-year, $12 million range.

Livingston is a consummate veteran who would be a great value add for Boston both on the court and in the the locker room.

Jordan Hill

Depending on what happens with Kris Humphries and Brandon Bass, Boston’s frontcourt could be awfully thin in 2014-15. 

One way to fix that would be plugging in big man Jordan Hill, who is coming off of a career campaign.

He averaged 9.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks on 54.9 percent shooting in 72 games with the Los Angeles Lakers

Hill cemented himself in the rotation as Pau Gasol struggled with injuries, and is a major spark plug on both ends.

He isn’t particularly skilled (77 percent of his shots were within 10 feet, per Basketball-Reference), but Hill uses his size and athleticism extremely well. 

On the boards, Hill’s ability to box out and give multiple efforts led to some big rebounding games.

He’s also a mobile defender containing the pick-and-roll and protecting the rim.

Offensively he has the potential to be a nice compliment to Rondo in the screen-and-roll game.

He shot 56.1 percent as the roll man last season, per Synergy Sports (subscription required), and that was with the Lakers' revolving door of point guards. 

Hill earned $3.5 million in 2013-14, and while he’s due for a raise, he would still be a steal at $4.5 million per year. 

Andrew Bynum 

Yes, by most accounts he's a terrible human with terrible knees, but there’s no denying Andrew Bynum’s skill set. 

The 7-footer, when last healthy, was among the league’s elite centers for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Granted that was years ago, and stints in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Indiana didn’t pan out, but he did show some decent flashes with the Cavaliers

The Pacers let Bynum go mid-playoffs, with Larry Bird saying, “We want to thank Andrew and our medical staff for trying to get the issues with his knee resolved.”

That’s a pretty ominous statement, and rumors also swirled about Bynum hurting Indiana’s chemistry behind the scenes.

Still, the Celtics need size on the block, and an engaged Bynum is a monster on both ends of the court.

In 24 games for Cleveland, Bynum averaged 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks, albeit on 41.9 percent shooting from the field.

If he could provide Boston with even that much production consistently he would be a big boost to a frontcourt that may lose Bass and Humphries.

Bynum could also be the shot-altering presence Boston so desperately needs.

Jared Sullinger is ground-bound, and Kelly Olynyk doesn’t move well enough defensively to be a true rim protector. 

Adding someone who can seal off the paint would seriously help the Celtics, who were just 20th in defensive efficiency at 105.2

Obviously character concerns are an issue with Bynum, and he could have a detrimental impact on a young team. 

However, the even-keeled temperament of Brad Stevens should calm him down, as would having a veteran leader like Rondo around.

Worst comes to worst, they could always cut him, and Bynum’s value around the league is so low that he might be available on a veteran’s minimum contract.

In short, this would be a medium-risk, high-reward scenario for a Boston team that may just spend 2014-15 rebuilding anyway. 


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