It's no secret that the Celtics would love to sign one more backup swingman before opening night at the TD Garden on Oct. 26.
They've got big shoes to fill this summer with the loss of Tony Allen, who spent six solid years in a Celtics uniform. T.A. was loyal to the team, he set aside his own numbers in the name of winning, and he eagerly accepted the challenge of guarding the other team's best player every night.
So it would probably be crazy for the Celtics to replace T.A., now a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, with someone who's played for four teams in three years, shamelessly chases his own numbers and generally disregards defense and everything else as long as he's getting his 10 shots a night … wouldn't it?
Maybe. But Larry Hughes might be worth a look anyway.
The C's are on the market for a 15th guy to round out their roster for the upcoming season, and Danny Ainge has made no secret of the fact that nothing out there excites him. He's still looking for the perfect fit for the team he's assembled, and he still hasn't found what he's looking for.
But Hughes, warts and all, might be the right fit. The C's need a backup swingman, someone to back up Paul Pierce and Ray Allen when they're healthy, and sneak into the starting five when they're not.
They have Marquis Daniels, but year one of the Daniels experiment in Boston was less than thrilling, with injuries claiming half his season and apathetic play plaguing the other half. The Celtics' big signing of last summer was at the end of Doc Rivers' bench by March.
They have Von Wafer, but it's hard to entrust a big spot in your rotation to a guy who's 25 and has never completed a full season in the NBA.
Hughes might be a decent pickup, all things considered — he has experience, he has durability, and at age 31, he has the ability to get to the basket and score. Considering where we are, at the tail end of August with all of the premier free agents long ago snatched up and only spare parts remaining on the scrap heap, the C's could do a lot worse.
It's a low-risk move. But there's an even lower risk with just waiting this out, sticking with 14 guaranteed Celtics for now, and heading into camp with one spot open.
The Celtics' best option, if it ends up being an option at all, is to invite Hughes to camp and let him play his way onto the Celtics. The C's have a few other guys waiting in the wings hoping for a roster spot — Oliver Lafayette and Tony Gaffney are on non-guaranteed contracts signed at the end of last season, and former Michigan Wolverine DeShawn Sims, an undrafted free agent, played well enough on the C's summer squad to earn an invite to camp.
Ainge isn't desperate to make a move right now, because if he signs no one, he's still got a handful of talented youngsters gunning for a spot on his roster. So that leaves Hughes with a decision — wait things out with the Celtics, hoping for a shot to play on a title contender, or wander back to Charlotte, rejoining a Bobcats team that took him in late last season.
The Celtics aren't doing anything rash. It looks like they're content to wait until camp and let this all take care of itself — so for now, the ball's in Hughes' court.
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