Celtics Rumors: Jeff Green, Rudy Gay Among Boston's Targets in 2021 NBA Free Agency

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 2, 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 15:  Jeff Green #8 of the Brooklyn Nets attempts a shot against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game Five of the Second Round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on June 15, 2021 in New York City. 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. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
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Jeff Green and Rudy Gay are among the targets for the Boston Celtics in free agency this offseason, according to the Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach.

Himmelsbach explained the Celtics "prefer to pursue a player with extensive experience and are focused on adding size and shooting." He also wrote that the mid-level exception "will be the primary means of acquiring a key bench piece," thus limiting the pool of prospective free agents.

In terms of priorities, Himmelsbach's report lines up with comments made by president of basketball operations Brad Stevens to NBC Sports Boston. He said the team is looking to add "edge and experience" to the roster: 

"I think that it's so important that teams are built with people that bring different things to the table and bring a toughness to the table that kind of permeates throughout the team. And so when I talk about edge, you can obviously talk about a physical toughness or mental toughness, grit that you see very easily and others you can also talk about -- like the desire to be a part of something special and represent this place, with kind of that toughness and grit that our fans love."

The Celtics already acquired Josh Richardson to fortify their depth on the wing, but they might be losing Evan Fournier. According to the Boston Herald's Mark Murphy, the team's valuation of the Frenchman isn't lining up with his contract demands (four years, $80 million).

Himmelsbach posited the arrival of Richardson signaled the forthcoming exit of Fournier.

Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker being limited to 48 and 43 games, respectively didn't help. In general, though, the 2020-21 season showed how the supporting cast behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown was sorely lacking if Boston wants to contend for championships.

Making improvements isn't easy when the trio of Tatum, Brown and Al Horford count for $79.9 million against the salary cap. Throw in Smart ($13.9 million) and Richardson ($11.6 million) and the Celtics are already approaching the projected cap of $112 million.

Green averaged 11.0 points and shot 41.2 percent from beyond the arc last year with the Brooklyn Nets. He proved to be an effective small-ball center when Brooklyn wanted to sacrifice size for floor-spacing.

Like Green, Gay is a bit undersized as a power forward at 6'8", but that's not an issue as much in today's game. He also provides a solid floor in terms of his offense, averaging double digits in points in each of his 15 seasons in the league.

Neither would be a blockbuster addition for the C's, but either one would fill a need for the team.