After an underwhelming draft, the Celtics head into free agency hoping to sign any player who can improve their roster.
Historically, the Celtics have never been able to sign marquee free agents. But Danny Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations, is looking to sign players who can make the Celtics a better team next season, even if those players are not all-star caliber guys.
Although the Celtics haven't been ruled out as one of many teams looking to sign Detroit forward Greg Monroe and Orlando forward Tobias Harris, Ainge will be making phone calls to players who aren't necessarily making NBA headlines at this time of the year.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Celtics were one of three teams who called Houston Rockets forward Corey Brewer just after midnight. The C's, along with the Rockets and the Knicks (they were calling everyone last night), may be the only teams interested in signing the 29 year-old forward. Brewer, who is coming off a solid season in Houston, is a good player, but isn't anything special. Let's be honest, what can Brewer do that Jae Crowder or Evan Turner can't already do for the Celtics? Not much.
According to Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, the Celtics have their eyes on Portland center Robin Lopez and Toronto forward Amir Johnson. Lopez, a player the C's were rumored to be interested in before this week, is a player who could really help in the rim protection department. He can also finish around the hoop, moving him into the starting lineup and placing Tyler Zeller into a reserve role would strengthen the starting lineups' front line and the Celtics' bench.
The Celtics are in dying need of a center. His numbers won't blow you away but 10 points, 7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game will certainly suffice. Lopez is also a good defender in the post and would fit in nicely, but of course, the Celtics are not the only ones interested. New Orleans, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and New York (obviously) are also looking to sign Lopez.
Johnson, 28, is a ten-year veteran who can score in the paint and is a decent defender. He's a 10 points, 6 rebounds kind of guy and if the C's can get him, especially at a low price, then he's worth it. Celtics are desperate for low post scoring/defense at this point. Lopez and Johnson, two double-digit scorers, good defenders, could definitely make things a lot easier for scoring guards like Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Evan Turner on both ends of the floor.
Ainge will eventually bring in a player or two who can help his frontcourt. But it won't be the 'big names' fans have been anticipating. It's only the first day of free agency and names like Monroe and Harris are starting to look more and more like a pipe dream.